Some sources within the Israeli government are reporting that Hamas is a bit worried that their leaders may be the target of an Israeli strike. They have contacted Israel (via Turkey) regarding a “truce”. The sources tell me that right now Israel is resisting any negotiation that does not include releasing Gilad Shalit and allowing Israel to patrol the Philadelphia Corridor (the border between Israel and Egypt).
Meanwhile Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz (and former Defense Minister) has decided that he wants to be Foreign Minister. He has announced that Israel would be open to the Hamas overtures:
“Mediation is something we can think about but one thing needs to be clear,” Mofaz told Army Radio. “This subject is the responsibility of Hamas and the terror groups and as long as these firings and terror from inside the Strip don’t stop we must continue this policy and not stop for even one hour.”
Most voices however, were against the negotiations, unless Hamas renounced terror. As the Jerusalem Post reports:
It is a “pathetic and misleading attempt to divert international attention away from the crimes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad,” President Shimon Peres announced Wednesday. “If Hamas and Islamic Jihad stop firing rockets at our women and children, Israel will immediately hold its fire, so there is no need for negotiations,” Peres said in a press release.
Right-wing MKs were enraged by Mofaz’s remarks. “When the entire world is boycotting Hamas, should we be the ones to talk to it?” said Likud MK Silvan Shalom. “It would quite simply be a terrible mistake,” continued Shalom. “Hamas will exploit this period of negotiations to restore its capabilities and continue smuggling weapons. We need to do everything in order to bring about a cessation in Kassam attacks, not through dialogue but through action.” MK Aryeh Eldad (NRP/NU) similarly expressed his dismay at Mofaz’s proposal.” I am surprised that Mofaz, who gave us several ceasefires in the past, doesn’t learn the lessons from what the people of Israel got in return from those ceasefires.” “Mofaz should deal with the faltering issues in his ministry instead of preaching about security issues over which he failed in the past,” exclaimed Eldad MK Yitzhak Cohen (Shas) said Israel should only talk to Hamas on one condition: “That the negotiations secure the release of [captured IDF soldier] Gilad Schalit.”