The new Israeli Defence Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer made a quick tour of frontline Israeli Defence Force troops Friday in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Ben Eliezer flew by helicopter to be briefed by army commanders and meet soldiers at the Ayosh base, near Ramallah, the Central Command for the West Bank.
He said that the main objective of the troops based there was to strike against terrorists attacking Israeli civilians in the surrounding settlements and not to harm innocent civilians, adding that he knew the area and its problems well having served there for six years as an army commander.
But he also called for the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table.
After a brief tour of the base, he flew on to Gaza to visit flash point areas in the Strip.
Meanwhile, the Israeli military dug up a section of the road to prevent cars from travelling between the West Bank towns of Ramallah and Bir Zeit.
The Israelis also parked two tanks on a hill overlooking the road, a move aimed at deterring attacks on Israeli settlers in the area.
Palestinians denounced the action as yet another block on their movements, which have been severely restricted since the violence erupted in September.
In Jerusalem, security was tight for Friday prayers, with a heavy police and military presence around the Old City.
Police in the city centre police were on high alert following Hamas threats of a series of suicide bombings to mark Ariel Sharon's accession to power.
Hamas claim to have nine suicide bombers already in place in Israel waiting to strike.
"We have nothing against the population. Not at all. We have only against those who sacrifice their people for the sake of the bloodshed. We are not interested in this bloodshed. We would like to convince them that it is not worth while to continue with that. On the contrary, to get back to the table."
SUPER CAPTION: Binyamin Ben Eliezer, Israeli Defence Minister