'Israel essentially agrees to ceasefire'

According to Egyptian report, Israel's reservations to be conveyed to Hamas; Gilad briefs Barak on talks.

amos gilad 248 88 aj (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
amos gilad 248 88 aj
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Israel has agreed in principle to the Egyptian proposal for a Gaza truce, Egyptian television reported on Thursday evening. According to the report, Israel had reservations on the proposal, which would be presented to Hamas in the near future. The Foreign Ministry would not confirm the report. Earlier, Amos Gilad, the head of the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau, returned to Israel from Cairo, where he had discussed the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. Gilad updated Defense Minister Ehud Barak with details of his meetings, defense officials said. Following the meeting with Barak, Gilad was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and senior officials in the defense establishment. Remaining defiant, however, was Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal, who said on Thursday evening that the group was sticking to its conditions for a cease-fire, including an immediate withdrawal of IDF troops from the Gaza Strip. Mashaal said he had informed all the players involved in trying to secure a cease-fire of the group's demands. The group's call for an immediate Israeli withdrawal has emerged as a key issue in negotiations. The Egyptian proposal calls for a 10-day cease-fire that would allow IDF troops to remain in place until a security arrangement is negotiated to ensure that Hamas cannot continue to bring weapons into Gaza. Herb Keinon contributed to this report