Israeli Cabinet Meets on Mideast Crisis
An Israeli cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ehud Barak opened Tel Aviv Monday to discuss its options after the expiry of an ultimatum demanding the Palestinians halt 12 days of deadly clashes.
Barak said ahead of the extraordinary session that the Palestinian leadership was not ready for peace and warned that Israel would have to take counter-measures.
The meeting, attended by cabinet ministers and top security officials, is also expected to discuss the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers by Lebanese Shiite Muslim guerrillas that could spark a confrontation with Lebanon and its political master Syria.
On the Palestinian front, Barak said: "We are ready for anything that could contribute in a substantial way to an end to the violence but to our regret, the Palestinian leadership does not seem ready for that.
"In order to achieve peace, the Palestinian people will always be our neighbors and our partners.
"But apparently the current leadership is not ready to make peace ... and that will oblige us to take measures we are in the process of discussing," Barak said -- TEL AVIV (AFP)
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