An Israeli minister said that his country was ready to use force "without hesitation" in Gaza after a Palestinian rammed a bulldozer into cars and a bus on a busy Jerusalem street on Wednesday, killing three people. (Report: J. Le Masurier)
Israel is ready to use military action "without hesitation" in Gaza to prevent attacks, an Israeli minister said Thursday after a Palestinian driving a bulldozer went on a deadly rampage in Jerusalem.
"Terror and smuggling are the two grounds for Israeli military action in Gaza," Environment Minister Gideon Ezra said during a visit to Tokyo.
"If there will be no terror or smuggling we will not need to act. But if we do have to resort to military action, we'll do it without any hesitation," he said.
A Palestinian on Wednesday killed three people and wounded 45 more as he rammed a bulldozer into buses and cars before being shot dead by Israeli police, who branded it a "terrorist attack".
"Israel is walking a very thin rope while trying to do everything possible not to escalate the region into another armed conflict," Ezra said at a conference here on prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
"But as you all know, the terrorists of Hamas and Hezbollah are doing the exact opposite with encouragement of the rule of terror," he said.
Wednesday's attack was the first in Jerusalem since a Palestinian gunman killed eight Jewish students at a religious school in March.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians resumed in November after a seven-year hiatus but have made little progress amid violence in and around Gaza and continued Jewish settlement building on occupied Palestinian land.
Hamas, which Israel blacklists as a terror group, violently seized power in the densely-populated coastal Gaza Strip more than a year ago.
Date created : 2008-07-03