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Mon Nov 12, 2012, 11:22 AM

PMO: Netanyahu Wants To Prepare International Public Opinion For Gaza Operation [View all]

Likud ministers have been competing since Sunday morning over who will threaten Hamas with harsher words, but it does not seem as though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is jumping at the chance to launch an operation in Gaza. A source in the Prime Minister's Office said Sunday in a press briefing that Netanyahu is conducting hasbara - efforts to explain and justify Israel's policies to the rest of the world in order to "prepare international public opinion for an Israeli operation in Gaza."

Netanyahu has been sustaining harsh public criticism due to the continued rocket fire into southern Israel, but he understands that Israel does not have international legitimacy to launch an operation in Gaza at the moment. The stalled peace talks, the international criticism of settlement construction, the tension in Israel-Egypt ties, and the situation on the Syria border put Israel in a sensitive situation, and any operation in Gaza could bring about dangerous diplomatic consequences.

Likud ministers, who were trying to present an intransigent front ahead of the primaries, harshly threatened Hamas. Ministers Moshe Ya'alon, Yisrael Katz, Yuli Edelstein and others called to renew targeted assassinations on Hamas leaders.

At the cabinet meeting on Sunday morning, Netanyahu said: "The world needs to understand that Israel will not sit with arms crossed when faced by attempts to hurt us," Netanyahu told ministers at the weekly cabinet meeting, after more than 40 rockets struck Israel over the course of Sunday morning. "We are prepared to intensify our response."

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http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/pmo-netanyahu-wants-to-prepare-international-public-opinion-for-gaza-operation.premium-1.476835#

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