Israeli military sources believed that a large military offensive on Gaza won’t take place before two weeks, the Israeli online Daily Haaretz reported on Sunday.
The sources told Haaretz on Saturday that Israel will engage in more talks on ceasefire with the Palestinians, through Egyptian mediators, for the next two weeks and that the Israeli warnings against Gaza are not as painted in media.
The death of an Israeli resident due to a homemade shell last week heightened the urgency of a ground offensive against the Gaza Strip, yet such a need is yet to be interpreted into action, Haaretz quoted the sources as saying.
The Israeli army has not reinforced presence around the coastal region, neither it has called up reserve troopers , according to the sources.
Currently, contacts for a truce with the Palestinian resistance groups are focused on the Israeli demands that a captured Israeli soldier be released and arms smuggling, on Gaza-Egypt border lines, be stopped
However, if such Egyptian-mediated efforts fail in the next 14 days, then the Israeli defense minister, Ehud Barak, will go for the military operation option, maintained the sources. Barak and PM Olmert have both stated that such an action is ‘very close’.
The Israeli inner security cabinet will be convened this Tuesday to come out with a decision over a large-scale military operation inside Gaza, which according to media outlets will involve reoccupation of border Gaza areas, adjacent to Israel, for a long period of time.
Last week, representatives of the ruling Hamas party returned from Cairo ’empty-handed’, as the Egyptian mediators had no answer from Israel about Hamas’s ceasefire offer, submitted to Cairo in April of this year.
According to the terms of the ceasefire, Israel would stop military attacks on Gaza, lift underway blockade of the coastal region, while Hamas would ensure halt of homemade shells, fired by Hamas and other resistance groups, within a period of six months, to be extended later on to the West Bank.