29-01-2023 07:34 AM Jerusalem Timing

Israeli Ministers Vote for Restraint as Gaza Truce Holds

Israeli Ministers Vote for Restraint as Gaza Truce Holds

The cabinet voted yesterday to refrain from any action that could lead to an escalation in the south

The cabinet voted yesterday to refrain from any action that could lead to an escalation in the south and to cooperate indirectly with the truce Hamas declared on Sunday, Haaretz reported Tuesday.

The cabinet meeting began Sunday and adjourned yesterday morning. The ministers were briefed by senior defense officials, but were not asked to approve any further military action. Instead, the meeting focused on ways to contain the situation and prevent an escalation.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak offered various arguments for why Israel must exercise restraint - its international isolation, the fact that the Iron Dome rocket interception system still offers only partial defense, and the fear of worsening the diplomatic crisis with Egypt. Under these circumstances, Netanyahu said, all-out war against Hamas-run Gaza would be inadvisable.

Prior to the cabinet meeting, several ministers had called for a harsher Israeli response to the rocket fire; and that is largely what prompted Netanyahu to convene the cabinet Sunday night: By having the full cabinet approve the decision to refrain from further military action, he hoped to block criticism from within the government.