Olmert responded to Annan's request that Israel act with restraint by saying that Israel has lost patience and must act to release Shalit and prevent the firing of Kassam rockets at its citizens, the Israeli government said in an e-mailed statement. Israel is also taking ``all necessary steps not to harm civilians,'' the statement said.
More: Israel cannot afford to back down.
Israel has no other choice but to stand tough because every climb down and withdrawal is interpreted as weakness. Furthermore the word "compromise" is a foreign word in the Arab world. You either prevail or go down in a blaze of glory.
For this reason a "ceasefire" is the most Hamas is prepared to offer Israel, which the Europeans insist on misinterpreting as the first step towards recognition. Rather, it's merely a tactical pause in the war against Israel.
News about the new confrontation on the border between Gaza and Israel has largely displaced reports of the looming "humanitarian catastrophe" in Gaza. It's also important to find out how a government that can't even provide for its own people is getting the means to assemble, clothe and arm a new 3,000 man force. And who is arming and paying the salaries of these masked, hyper-agile young men who are storming the streets wielding bazookas? Is that what a "humanitarian catastrophe" looks like?