Israel rejects Hamas truce offer


Israel rejected a Hamas proposal for a conditional six-month truce in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas leaders said following talks with Egyptian mediators last week that they would be prepared to halt rocket fire from Gaza for six months if Israel agrees to stop its military operations and lifts the embargo on the territory.

Were such a ceasefire to take hold, Hamas said, Egypt would talk to Israel about the option of extending it to the West Bank. Previous Hamas truce offers demanded that they apply simultaneously in both areas.

Jerusalem officials rejected the proposal as a ruse, saying Hamas was trying to buy time in which to recover from recent fighting and build up its forces. If Hamas wants quiet in Gaza, the officials said, it should stop its rocket fire and then Israel will have no need to hit back.

Hamas said Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman will visit Israel this week to argue in favor of the truce. But Israeli sources said they knew of no such visit by Suleiman.



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