Olmert, ministers to decide on Sunday on Gaza ceasefire

Some ministers say they will oppose ceasefire and call for large-scale Gaza op; Hamas: If ceasefire rejected, we will respond with force.

Hamas man rocket 298.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas man rocket 298.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is expected to meet with government ministers on Sunday to decide whether to accept an Egyptian-moderated ceasefire which calls for calm between Israel and Hamas, Israel Radio reported on Saturday. According to the report, some of the ministers who will participate in the meeting - including Vice-Premier Haim Ramon - have already said that they would oppose the plan, and would instead push for a large-scale military operation to be launched in the Gaza Strip against Hamas. The report further stated that officials in Jerusalem have expressed reservations over the ceasefire, saying that at no point have Hamas officials told Egyptian moderators that they were willing to stop reinforcing their position in Gaza through arms smuggling across the Egyptian border. Officials in Israel also said that the Islamic group was unwilling to impose the terms of the ceasefire on other Palestinian factions throughout the Strip. Meanwhile, senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar said on Sunday that Hamas expects Israel to respond to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal in the coming days. Speaking during an interview with Al Jazeera, Zahar said that if Jerusalem rejected the ceasefire, the Palestinian people will unilaterally lift the siege which has been imposed on Gaza by forcibly opening the border crossings.