Netanyahu: Israel ready for truce with Hamas
Gaza (AsiaNews/Agencies) - After eight days of bombardment, Israel is vetting the possibility of a truce in Gaza. Israeli media are reporting that the decision could come within 24 hours as tanks and armoured vehicles wait on the Palestinian border. Israeli forces are ready for an eventual ground invasion, but Israel is willing to talk with Hamas. Nevertheless, "a ground incursion is a clear possibility," Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's spokesman Mark Regev said.
This morning, Israel's cabinet met in Jerusalem to discuss a ceasefire proposal by Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil who was in Gaza on Sunday. According to government sources in Jerusalem, the Palestinians also appear ready to accept a truce. The Islamists have in fact stopped firing rockets against Israel.
In Cairo, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged the parties to stop the hostilities immediately. In a meeting with Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, Arab League officials and Hamas delegates, Ban warned that an escalation could threaten the whole region.
Exiled Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal has also raised the possibility of a "temporary" stop to the fighting. "We are not against a calming, but we want our demands... to end the thuggery, to end the aggression and to lift the blockade," the Hamas chief said.
So far, Israel's 'Pillar of defence' operation has caused the death of more than 100 Palestinians. Three people in Israel have also died from rockets launched by Muslim extremists.
Over the last few days, Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets were fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, forcing resident into underground shelters.
Since the operation started on 17 November, Israeli planes conducted hundreds of sorties, hitting more than 1,350 objectives. Some 640 rockets were also launched from Gaza against towns and villages in southern Israel.