Yesterday, the Israeli Daily Ma’areef quoted a senior Israeli military officer saying that the Israeli army is preparing to launch a massive military campaign on the Gaza Strip.  

According to this source, the anticipated attack will aim at preventing Palestinians from smuggling weapons to the Gaza Strip through the Philadelphia route at the Egypt-Gaza border line.  

The newspaper published that according to Israeli security assessments, the Palestinian organizations have resumed weaponry development, including sending out some cells for training abroad.  

The Israeli radio earlier reported that a number of Israeli ministers called for the launch of a massive military operation in the Gaza Strip, in order to crack down on ‘Palestinian resistance groups who fire homemade rockets at nearby Israeli towns.  

Eili Yeshai, an Israeli minister and leader of the Shas religious party, was quoted as saying “Israel can no longer keep idle towards Palestinian rockets fired”.  

Such developments came just a few hours after a number of Israeli ministers called yesterday for the resumption of military attacks on the Gaza Strip.  

Ephraim Snaih, deputy-minister of defense, has cast doubts over possible deployment of international security forces, asserting that such forces would not produce a solution but rather create a problem.  

Erina Etinger, spokeswoman for the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs, hardliner Avigdor Liberman, said “Minister Lieberman has called for deployment of 30.000 NATO personnel in Gaza, following an inevitable military operation over there, and he has raised this with the US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during the latter’s recent visit to Israel”.  

Calls by Israelis for large offensives on Gaza come amid international efforts, including Washington’s, to contain the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and work out a solution on the basis of the internationally-backed Road Map peace blueprint