Just one day after Israel’s cabinet approved a “substantial and painful” military operation in the Gaza Strip, the military is reporting that it has completed preparations for the invasion, and is just waiting for more pleasant weather to begin its attacks. Though Defense Minister Ehud Barak only promised to make Hamas pay “a heavy price,” anonymous Israeli officials say the operation is likely to begin with a series of air strikes, culminating in a ground invasion.
Military Chief Gen. Ashkenazi promised the Israeli forces would “act with wisdom” in the invasion, and said he would leave “a new secure situation around the Gaza Strip.”
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, meanwhile, warned Gaza’s 1.5 million civilian residents that they would be in danger if they did not stop Hamas from launching missiles. Insisting that Israel’s military operations in Gaza were all “a result of Hamas’ activities,” Olmert said tens of thousands of Gaza children will be put in danger.
He also promised not to let Gaza slip into a humanitarian crisis, vowing to prevent any shortages of food or medicine. The promise is unlikely to carry much weight in the besieged strip, as Israel has spent much of the past month doing everything they can to prevent food and medicine from reaching the strip’s residents.