Gaza Leader: Hamas Will Accept Truce Only if Israel Guarantees No More Attacks

Diplomats at the United Nations said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit Israel and Egypt in the coming week to push for an end to the fighting.

Avi Issacharoff
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Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip, told Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi over the weekend that he supported the efforts to mediate a temporary cease-fire with Israel.

The cease-fire must comprise a clear guarantee from Israel that it would not resume its attacks on Gaza, Haniyeh told Morsi in a telephone conversation.

The two leaders spoke after Egyptian intelligence officials met with Hamas political bureau chief, Khaled Meshal, and his deputy, Mussa Abu Marzouk.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told foreign leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, over the weekend that he was prepared for a comprehensive cease-fire in the Gaza Strip as soon as possible, if the rocket firing stops. The foreign leaders asked Netanyahu not to escalate the fighting and to give several days to the intensive mediation efforts Egypt has been leading during the course of the weekend.

In Cairo over the weekend, as the Egyptian security deputies sought to broker a truce with Hamas leaders, Morsi said that "there are some indications that there is a possibility of a cease-fire soon, but we do not yet have firm guarantees."

Egypt has mediated previous cease-fire deals between Israel and Hamas, the latest of which unraveled with recent violence.

A Palestinian official told Reuters the truce discussions would continue in Cairo on Sunday, saying "there is hope," but it was too early to say whether the efforts would succeed.

In Jerusalem, an Israeli official declined to comment on the negotiations. Military commanders said Israel was prepared to fight on to achieve a goal of halting rocket fire from Gaza, which has plagued Israeli towns since late 2000, when failed peace talks led to the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising.

Diplomats at the United Nations said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expected to visit Israel and Egypt in the coming week to push for an end to the fighting.

Hamas Prime Minister Ismail HaniyehCredit: AP