"The State of Israel has no interest in negotiating with entities that do not recognize the Quartet demands" - Olmert "Defense Minister Ehud Barak is scheduled to meet Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in Sharm el-Sheikh on Wednesday to discuss efforts to reach a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas." - Haaretz A cease fire with Hamas is not being negotiated with Hamas, but with Egypt. As Olmert says, Israel will not negotiate (directly) with Hamas until it accepts the Quartet conditions. Incidentally, Hamas also does not want to negotiate directly with Israel. Even for peace, Hamasa prefers that Abbas does the negotiations. At the same time that Israel is continuing with past rhetoric, Barak is going to Egypt to negotiate a cease fire. A cease fire is good for Israel: 1. Stop the pain inflicted on Sderot. 2. The government no longer appears impotent. 3. Prevents the need to invade and take over Gaza at the cost of hundreds of IDF soldiers' lives. Why is Hamas ready for a cease fire now; was it hit too hard recently? It does not appear that Hamas is suffering militarily. Mostly, Islamic Jihad was hit, but this kind of hits were going on for years and are easily recoverable. It appears that Hamas is ready for a cease fire in Gaza for economic reasons. They want the siege lifted in some way so their citizens can export their flowers and strawberries to Europe. In any case, Hamas will not be toppled by Gazans. Arab citizens do not topple their government. It takes a military force to do it. My expectation: If there is no cease fire now, Sderot will continue to suffer and eventually there will be a cease fire, when every other military option other than a full invasion is exhausted. Poor Sderot, so know not to vote for shortsighted militants.
MK Nachman Shai calls on Netanyahu to declare national state of emergency (Haaretz)
from the article: Ehud Olmert rejects Hamas' offer of cease-fire in Gaza Strip