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Intellectuals want truce with Hamas

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A group of Israeli intellectuals urged the Olmert government to hold cease-fire talks with Hamas.

Eleven writers and academics including Amos Oz and David Grossman published an open letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in the Israeli media Monday.

Noting that Israel is negotiating indirectly with Hamas for the return of Gilad Shalit, a soldier held captive in Gaza, the intellectuals called for full cease-fire talks with the dominant Palestinian faction.

“Israel has negotiated in the past with the worst of our enemies,” the ad read. “The current talks must also include an attempt to achieve a comprehensive truce without preconditions.”

The Olmert government, with the backing of most Western powers, has ruled out direct engagement with Hamas until the Islamist group abandons its hard-line hostility to the Jewish state.

Speaking on Israel Radio, Environment Minister Gideon Ezra said Sunday that a truce “would only allow Hamas to rearm and regroup” for renewed conflict.

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