Israel will continue its offensive until a UN-sponsored ceasefire is agreed upon, sources from the Israeli military General Staff confirm, adding that the military will recommend a considerable expansion of its operations in southern Lebanon and significantly increase air strikes as long as Hezbollah resumes its fire.

According to a senior General Staff officer, the military’s new strategy would include targeting infrastructure and symbols of the Lebanese government.  Until now, Israel has focused most of its attacks on Hezbollah, officially distinguishing between it and the Lebanese government, however, according to the officer, the continued escalation, especially in light of yesterdays rocket attacks on Haifa that killed three and injured around 40, has prompted them to target civilian infrastructure.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz met Monday at 8am to discuss with senior defense officials the next actions in the offensive.

Later on Monday, the five permanent UN Security Council members, US, Britain, China, France and Russia, will continue their ongoing dialogue about a ceasefire.  Members disagree on whether to consider Lebanon’s stipulation that the Israeli troops withdraw completely from its land.

Sourced from Haaretz Online daily