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Israeli PM says responsible government never eager to battle
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09:18, December 22, 2008

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Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that his government knows when to take which move to end the continued rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip against southern Israel, stressing that a responsible government neither runs to nor from a battle.

"We cannot accept the situation manifesting in Gaza. I've instructed the army and the defense establishment to offer contingencies as to what can be done," local news service Ynet quoted Olmert as saying at the weekly cabinet meeting on Sunday morning, when nine rockets pounded the southern town of Sderot and its vicinity, causing one injury.

Responding to criticism of the government's alleged inaction, Olmert added that "we feel the pain of Sderot's residents, who are faced with daily trials, but all the harsh criticism is uncalled for and damages our deterrence. We are guided by the need for a successful operation."

"A responsible government is never eager to battle, but nor does it shy away from it. We will take all necessary measures ... I've discussed the situation with the defense and foreign ministers, the scenarios are clear and the government will know which move to take and when," he told the ministers, among whom several have been demanding an immediate offensive.

Scores of rockets and mortars have been fired at the Jewish state since the Egypt-brokered truce between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip ended Friday, which had been generally honored for five months before clashes resumed six weeks ago.

Also on Sunday morning, the Israel Air Force (IAF) struck a rocket launcher in northern Gaza, which the Israeli army said had been primed for firing, a day after Gazan sources said one Palestinian was killed and another wounded in an IAF raid in the area.


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