Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Next Steps

Washington Post | Officials and analysts say Israel's top three political leaders disagree over how the remainder of the war should play out. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is said to favor an expansion, while Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are believed to be more hesitant. Barak has aggressively pushed the talks in Egypt; Livni has said that Israel can soon declare victory and withdraw. The three run the country together and must achieve consensus before Israel can act.

Olmert spokesman Mark Regev acknowledged that Barak, Livni and Olmert don't always see eye-to-eye, but said they have agreed on the war's aims. "It's probably a very good thing that we don't have group-think at the top levels of the Israeli government," he said.

In an interview with Israel Radio on Monday, Livni said Israel had succeeded in proving to Hamas it is serious about deterrence.

"Israel is a country that reacts vigorously when its citizens are fired upon, which is a good thing," she said. "That is something that Hamas now understands, and that is how we are going to react in the future if they so much as dare fire one missile at Israel." Israel and the United States consider Hamas a terrorist organization.