Israel´s Neighbors Warned "Not to Take Advantage" "There is no vacuum here"

Israel´s Neighbors Warned "Not to Take Advantage"
15:27 Jan 05, '06 / 5 Tevet 5766
By Hillel Fendel

Raanan Gissin, a close advisor to Prime Minister Sharon, said he would not advise any of Israel's neighbors to take advantage of the emergency situation Israel faces.

"There is no vacuum here," Gissin told reporters at the hospital. "Ehud Olmert is the Acting Prime Minister, and the IDF is ready and strong."

As Mr. Sharon was being operated on, at least eight Kassam rockets were fired by Arab terrorists in Gaza at the Sderot and south-of-Ashkelon areas. No casualties or damage were reported.

With Olmert taking over the Prime Minister's duties as of Thursday morning, much of Israel's political scene has become very unclear. Technically, Olmert can make every decision a regularly elected Prime Minister can make, but the spirit of the law is that he must act with restraint, and not make far-reaching decisions. He is faced with the uncertainty of his new Kadima Party, which was founded by and based almost totally on the personality of Ariel Sharon. National elections are less than 12 weeks away and Kadima has no list of Knesset candidates - nor a mechanism for choosing one.

The only development that may be able to be counted on is that the Likud ministers will not resign from the government this Sunday. They had planned to quit at the behest of Likud chairman Binyamin Netanyahu. Netanyahu himself resigned from the government five months ago, just before the disengagement, but Ministers Naveh, Shalom, Livnat and Katz remain.

Palestinian Authority Vice Chairman Nabil Shaath said, "On a personal level, we express sorrow at that which has happened to Sharon." He warned, however, that "politically, it will increase the uncertainty we face in anticipation of the renewal of the peace process." Most observers had predicted that terrorism against Israel could be expected to be strongly renewed following the PA elections three weeks from now.

Violence directed against PA Chairman Abu Mazen increased in Gaza on Wednesday. Two Egyptian soldiers were shot dead after a mob of Gazan Arabs stormed across the Gaza-Egyptian border, known as the Philadelphi Route. The militants had mounted a show of force throughout Wednesday after one of their leaders was arrested for his involvement of the kidnapping of several foreigners. The PA police have been unable to control the outbreak of violence, and some policemen have initiated some violence themselves.

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