The Army is upset at the Defense Minister, the PM is upset at the Army, and operations in the North of Gaza appear scrapped..
(Haaretz) Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday rejected a proposal by Defense Minister Amir Peretz and the Israel Defense Forces for a ground operation in the northern Gaza Strip against the ongoing Qassam rocket fire. Olmert demanded that they present him with an approved operational plan.
According to government sources, the operation, which will target Beit Hanun, will take place, but Olmert wants the operation to be "prolonged and exhausting," and did not believe that the plan he was shown fit the bill. [...]
Sounds like a load of hogwash to me, but let's give Israel Prime Minister Olmert the benefit of the doubt. Meanwhile, Amir is not adored by his public and the rift between him and the defense establishment is growing canyonesque..
Maybe the operation was too watered down, though my own understanding is that major major forces were gathered next to the strip in the North. These delays and lack of confidence are allowing the Palestinians to build treacherous defenses.
It is worth noting that Olmert did pretty much the same regarding the Phase I plan earlier this week, delaying things about 24 hours or so for a new plan to be presented to him. That's the reason I think Ehud may be covering & stalling, because it looked like cover to give so called diplomacy (with a terrorist group yet) more time.
[...] The operation was aimed at halting Qassam rockets from being fired at southern Israel. Meanwhile, six of the homemade rockets struck the western Negev and Sderot on Thursday evening. There were no casualties.
Defense officials were furious at Peretz Thursday night, accusing him both of revealing that the planned military offensive in northern Gaza had been postponed and of denying initial reports that the postponement had been at Egypt's request.
Egypt had asked Israel to delay the operation at the beginning of the week, in order to allow time for diplomatic efforts to obtain the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. However, though negotiations with Hamas officials both in the territories and outside them are continuing, the talks have yet to yield a breakthrough [...]
That's the understatement of the year, they have yet to even yield a photo or sign of life from Gilad. Is Olmert going for a better plan, or is he caving to outside pressures? Either way it is looking VERY messy at the top echelons of Israel's government.
See a breakdown of a different sorts regarding the second phase of the Gaza operation right here at the Hashmonean.
UPDATE: Always go with your gut..
The Prime Minister's Office rejected the claim that the military program did not look good to Olmert, and diplomatic sources assert that the operation was delayed due its timing. "It seems to us that the time is not right to widen the operation," said a government source.
However, pressure by the international community not to escalate the situation seems to be a significant factor preventing the widening of Operation Summer Rains into northern Gaza. Criticism by the foreign minister of the G8 countries, alongside a clear call by the US secretary of state for "Israeli restraint" in Gaza came before a decision to delay, taken by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Thursday afternoon.
Diplomats in Jerusalem say that despite the delay, a very good atmosphere is in place between the prime minister, defense minister, and IDF sources. "There is no tension following the delay, and whoever claims there is tension is unfamiliar with that situation," a source said. [...]
Spin Spin Spin.. One call from Condi was all she wrote. You know with this weakness, one is only left to imagine the disaster that will be should Israel see a point of no retun vis a vis Iran, this man leading Israel, there's no way he puts it on the line. He can't even say no to the US in matters entirely local, never mind deal with Nuclear Weapon threats.