Hamas has reportedly told the Egyptian government that it will agree to a year-long, renewable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip if Israel withdraws its forces from the strip in the next week and reopens the border crossings which have long remained closed.
The offer falls well short of the “durable” ceasefire that the Israel has been calling for, but with a soaring number of civilian deaths as Israeli troops move deeper into the strip’s most densely populated regions, Israel is under growing international pressure to at least make some gesture in favor of the peace process, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon says he is “reasonably optimistic” that Israel will ultimately accept the ceasefire.
Yesterday Israel insisted that it would never agree to a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, but growing furor over the Israeli attack on the United Nations headquarters in Gaza and the announcement that for the second time in a week the United Nations will halt its aid operations until Israel agrees to stop attacking their employees are likely to add pressure to get the deal done.
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