The Defense Ministry is preparing a systematic war against Hamas, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz told the cabinet Sunday, saying this is especially important as Israel moves toward disengagement from Gaza.
Mofaz characterized Hamas as a "strategic enemy," saying this war will include targeted killings and a campaign against the organization's "supportive infrastructure" and the sources of its financial support.
"The defense establishment deems it important to weaken this organization, which is a strategic enemy of Israel, especially as we approach disengagement from the Gaza Strip," Mofaz said.
Mofaz said it was decided to counter the recent wave of terrorism with a wave of continuous pressure against the terrorist organizations.
The bulk of this effort will be directed at Hamas and Tanzim, which Mofaz said is increasingly being supported by Hizbullah.
Referring to the first anniversary of the US war in Iraq, Mofaz said that campaign has improved Israel's strategic balance, evident in Libya's decision to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction; Iran's decision to sign on to the additional protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear program; and Syria's growing isolation.
Mofaz, who met in Washington last week with senior administration officials, said he believes the American position on Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan is one of "strategic support, accompanied by questions."
The cabinet held a short meeting Sunday before Sharon met with his Likud ministers to discuss the disengagement plan.
Sharon briefed the cabinet on his talks at his Negev ranch last Thursday with Jordan's King Abdullah II. He characterized the talks as "friendly."
Sharon said close Jordanian-Israeli relations are a "strategic interest" for both countries.