Defense Minister Ehud Barak hinted Sunday that a ground assault on Hamas in Gaza is imminent.
"The forces are ready. prepared, there will be food for everyone, excellent , trained soldiers, the reserves are being quickly and we will carry out anything that is needed to ensure the aims of the operation are achieved," Barak said.
"The continuation of the operation is a given," Barak explained. "We will continue to operate, strike and perhaps even the amplify the operation, vis-à-vis the launch devices, vis-à-vis the activists and the other things, and if there is a need we will not hesitate to launch a ground operation."
Speaking Sunday night, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said that it was likely that Operation Pillar of Defense would continue – and be expanded as well.
“The operation must continue,” Yishai said in an on Channel Two. “It will be expanded as well. We are prepared for a land operation,” Yishai said.
Yishai said that the war against Gaza terrorists needed to be “so painful and difficult that the terror groups will not think twice, but a hundred times before they fire missiles against Israel again.” Yishai is a member of the interior security , so he is privy to top-level government security decisions.
Yishai also advocated causing major damage to Gaza's infrastructure. “Destroy and damage infrastructure, public and government buildings. Do not leave them any place from which they can operate to damage Israel. We must be sure that Hamas will be spending many years in rebuilding Gaza, and not in attacking Israel,” Yishai said.
Israel has sent a representative to Cairo for mediated talks with Hamas regarding the possibility of a ceasefire – but these talks have failed,a Hamas spokesman quoted by Channel 2's Ehud Yaari.
Yaari said that Hamas is broadcasting fantastic claims of its alleged military successes against Israel, including the supposed shutting down of Ben Gurion Airport.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has announced that he will be the region on Tuesday, as diplomatic activity surrounding the Israel-Gaza conflict intensifies.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius arrived in Israel Sunday and met Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu told Fabius: "First of all, the fire [from Gaza] must stop, and only then will we be willing to talk about the rest. Half of Israel is under rocket attack and this situation cannot continue."
On Monday, German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle is due to visit. The United States is reportedly deeply involved in behind-the-scenes talks in the hope of reaching an agreement by the time Ban Ki-Moon arrives.