Triumvirate Oversees Israel's Gaza Campaign

Monday, 14 Jul 2014 07:56 AM

By Elliot Jager

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Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said Monday that Hamas will rue the day it started the latest round of fighting with the Jewish state, Israel Radio reported.

Ya'alon, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and IDF Chief of Staff Binyamin "Benny" Gantz are the triumvirate who are conducting Israel's Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in Gaza.

By law, Netanyahu must also consult with a six-member security cabinet which he expanded to eight participants.

The security panel has met at least once daily since the conflict began on July 8. The members are Netanyahu, Ya'alon, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan.

The security cabinet must authorize military operations.

Netanyahu has also occasionally invited other cabinet members including Yuval Steinitz, a former strategic affairs minister, and Yaakov Perry, a former Shin Bet chief, to participate in the deliberations.

Military and intelligence officials brief the security cabinet, usually Gen. Aviv Kochavi, chief of the military intelligence, Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen, and Mossad chief Tamir Pardo.

Netanyahu has also taken pains to brief the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee and the heads of the main opposition factions, including the official opposition leader, Labor Party chairman Isaac Herzog.

At the July 13 meeting of the full cabinet, Netanyahu defined the goal of Operation Protective Edge as "the restoration of quiet for a long period while inflicting a significant blow on Hamas and the other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip."

The Gaza Strip was turned over to the Palestinian Authority as part of the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israeli premier Yitzhak Rabin and PLO leader Yasser Arafat in 1993.

Arafat arrived in Gaza in 1994. While Israel withdrew from most of the Strip in 1994, it retained security control and a string of civilian settlements until 2005 when premier Ariel Sharon unilaterally pulled out of the territory.

In August 2007, Hamas ousted Arafat's successor Mahmoud Abbas from the Strip. According to its charter, the Islamic Resistance Movement is committed to the destruction of Israel.

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