Israel, Egypt to discuss Gaza truce


Israel will hear Egypt’s proposal for a truce with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman is due to visit Israel on Monday to present a deal, accepted by Hamas, for a six-month Gaza cease-fire conditioned on the lifting of an Israeli embargo on the coastal territory.

Israel rejected the initiative when it was first floated last month but has since signaled some flexibility.

“Omar Suleiman will come, we’ll listen to him, we’ll confer, we’ll see what he’s offering, and on that basis we will make decisions,” Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilna’i told Israel Radio on Sunday.

Israel refuses to deal directly with Hamas and is reluctant to sign on to a truce that would allow the radical Islamist group to rearm and regroup.

But there is growing speculation that if Egypt guarantees an end to arms smuggling from its turf to Gaza, Israel could agree to an undeclared, de facto cessation of hostilities that would allow it to pursue peace talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

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