Israel dismisses Hamas truce offer

April 25th, 2008 - 3:55 pm ICT by admin  

(Lead, changing dateline)
Jerusalem, April 25 (Xinhua) Israel Friday dismissed a Hamas proposal for a conditional six-month truce in the Gaza Strip, calling it a ruse for the Palestinian Islamist group to recover from recent fighting. “Hamas is biding time in order to rearm and regroup. There would be no need for Israel’s defensive actions if Hamas would cease and desist from committing terrorist attacks on Israelis,” prime ministerial spokesman David Baker was quoted by local daily Ha’aretz as saying.

In an apparent reference to Israeli air strikes and commando raids in Gaza, Baker said: “Israel will continue to act to protect its citizens.”

Hamas Thursday agreed to a ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip after talks with Egyptian mediators in Cairo, Egypt’s official MENA news agency reported.

A delegation from Hamas Thursday told Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman that Hamas was prepared to accept a temporary ceasefire with Israel, to begin in Gaza, saying that the deal would extend after a predetermined time to the West Bank.

Hamas had previously demanded that a truce apply simultaneously to both areas, but Israel refused.

According to Hamas’ truce announcement, Israel is expected to immediately cease all military activities in the Gaza Strip, including arrests, assassinations and field operations.

In return, Hamas will ensure an end to cross-border rocket fire at Israel or other militant operations, including arms smuggling into Gaza.

In addition, Israel and Egypt are to permit the opening of the Rafah crossing, and ease cargo shipments into and out of Gaza Strip.

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