Israel reportedly 'agrees to 30 days of quiet' with Hamas

Al-Quds Al-Arabi and Al-Hayat: Israel agrees to conditional "trial period" which could eventually give rise to official calm.

Israel is demanding that a formal calm with Hamas be preceded by a 30-day "feeling the pulse" period, the London-based daily Al-Quds al-Arabi reported Tuesday. According to the newspaper, the demand was presented to Egyptian officials by Amos Gilad, who heads the Defense Ministry's Diplomatic-Security Bureau. The report quoted a "senior Palestinian source" as saying that if the 30-day period proves successful, Israel will assent to the Egyptian calm initiative, including the cessation of ground and air attacks in the Gaza Strip and refraining from retaliating for the terror attack at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva last week. Another London-based pan-Arab daily, Al Hayat, quoted an Egyptian source as saying that the specific Israeli conditions for the 30-days test period included a complete halt of rocket attacks against Israel and on construction of smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border. According to the source, Gilad emphasized that Israel agreed to the calm on the condition that it would not be used by Palestinians for rearmament. Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Aiman Taha, told Al-Hayyat that the organizations still maintains that the calm should be mutual, simultaneous and all-inclusive. He said that Hamas's conditions included extending the calm to the West Bank, opening the border passes and ceasing assassination of Palestinian targets. On Monday, both Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak emphatically denied there was any kind of negotiating process with Hamas, and insisted that the IDF "retained its freedom of action" in the Strip.