NPR logo
Israel Faces Decision In Gaza Fighting
  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Israel Faces Decision In Gaza Fighting

Middle East


Israel's military pressed deeper into Gaza today, the 16th day of the offensive. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told his cabinet that the incursion is nearing its goals. But he gave no sign that Israel would end its operations in Gaza anytime soon. Hamas, the Islamic resistance movement that controls Gaza, also gave no indication that it was ready to cease its rocket launches against Israel. The number of dead among Palestinians is now closing in on 900, according to United Nations figures, with more than 3,700 injured. Israel's death tolls stands at 13. NPR's Mike Shuster reports from Jerusalem.

MIKE SHUSTER: It's been a particularly bloody weekend in Gaza. According to figures compiled by United Nations agencies, at least 70 Palestinians died since Saturday, with more than 200 injured. Most of those killed were non-combatants, according to medical workers in Gaza. They died as a result of Israel's relentless air bombardments, and as a result of some intense ground operations involving infantry and tanks along the southern edge of Gaza City. U.N. officials said today that of the almost 900 Palestinians killed so far in this war, more than 40 percent have been women and children.

Israeli military and political leaders believe the offensive has severely eroded Hamas' military capabilities. It may have reduced the number of rockets launched against Israel from Gaza as well, but it has not ended them. The Israeli offensive appears to have reached a crossroads. Israeli newspapers are filled with speculation about what the next phase will be - whether Israel will increase the number of its troops in Gaza and press the fight against Hamas more deeply into Gaza City and other heavily populated areas of the territory, or whether comments like Olmert's today, that Israel is nearing its goals, may be laying the groundwork for an Israeli decision to declare an end to the offensive.

Late today, a spokesman for the Israeli military said additional units of reservists have now been deployed to Gaza, a possible sign that Israel intends to widen its operations there. Mike Shuster, NPR News, Jerusalem.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.