Peres: We may talk to Hamas if rocket fire is halted

Israeli officials amid reports of Hamas interest in hudna: Time not right for Israel to agree to a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

peres 88 (photo credit: )
peres 88
(photo credit: )
The time is not right for Israel to agree to a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, Israeli officials said Saturday amid reports that senior Hamas leadership was interests in an immediate hudna. President Shimon Peres joined Security Cabinet Ministers Ze'ev Boim (Kadima) and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer (Labor) in demanding that Hamas halt all rocket attacks and provide real intelligence on kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, before Israel accepts Hamas's offer. Over the weekend, reports surfaced that Hamas had proposed a temporary cease-fire with Israel. The proposal was reportedly relayed through Egyptian mediators and has not been confirmed by any Hamas officials. "Once the incessant rocket attacks stop, we might be inclined to negotiate with [Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh]," said Peres. "Negotiations with Hamas will only take place once they meet the three conditions set by the Quartet [UN, Britain, Russia and the US]: That is cessation of Kassam fire, official recognition of Israel's right to exist, and abiding by existing peace accords." Palestinian terrorists fire rocket barrages at Israel from the Gaza Strip almost daily. Over the past week, the IDF has struck back hard, killing 20 Gaza terror operatives in air strikes and ground operations. Ben-Eliezer said it was unlikely that Israel would agree to the short-term cease-fire deal currently being offered. However, he told Israel Radio that if "a serious, realistic proposal is put on the table and Hamas is willing to discuss a long-term cease-fire and is willing to stop the terror, stop [weapons] smuggling and is willing to open talks on the release of Gilad Schalit," he would go to negotiations. Boim also urged Israel to ignore Hamas's proposed deal, stating that it was not a real offer that would yield positive results for Israel. "This is a honey trap, they need some breathing room, they are under a lot of pressure," Boim said in an interview with Channel 1.