The Israeli cabinet voted in majority against conducting a large-scale military offensive against the Gaza Strip, and decided to indirectly maintain the truce declared by the Hamas movement in Gaza, on Sunday.The Israeli Ministerial Cabinet held a session on Monday to discuss the situation in Gaza; senior Israeli ministers and officials participated in the meeting, and were not asked to vote for a military offensive.
The meeting, that was initially supposed to take place Sunday, was focused on efforts to contain the situation and to prevent escalation, Israeli sources reported.
Israeli daily Haaretz reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak presented all claims that would be likely to push Israel away from escalation at this current time.
Haaretz added that the reasons presented included;
First: international isolation and condemnation.
Second: Fear of further deterioration in the diplomatic relations with Egypt.
Third: Israel does not have international legitimacy to conduct a large-scale offensive on Gaza.
Netanyahu told his ministers that “a comprehensive war on Gaza will not be the ideal solution.”
Several Israeli cabinet members and ministers called on Netanyahu to conduct a firm “retaliation against the firing of homemade shells from Gaza into Israel,” an issue that pushed Netanyahu to hold this meeting that aims at preventing escalation, Israeli sources said.
An advisor to Netanyahu stated that “the Prime Minister believes that, at the current stage, it would be wrong to be dragged into a comprehensive war with Gaza.” Yet, the advisor added that “Israel will retaliate should factions in Gaza attack it,” the Maan News Agency reported.
The advisor further stated that “the situation in the Middle East is very sensitive, like a boiling pot,” adding that the Palestinians are getting ready to head to the United Nations this September to seek international recognition of statehood based on the 1967 borders, an issue that pushes Israel to refrain from any escalation to preserve its international image.
He also stated that Israel does not have enough “Iron Dome” interception systems to protect itself from shells and missile attacks, Maan said.