The leader of Hamas said on Tuesday his group was open to the possibility of a ceasefire, after the terrorist group and its Iranian-backed allies had launched 400 rockets and mortars at Israel border communities, Reuters reported.
“Should the Occupation (Israel) stop its aggression a return to the ceasefire understandings will be possible,” Ismail Haniyeh said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who repeatedly stated that Israel is doing everything in its power to avoid another Gaza war – convened his security cabinet to determine the next steps.
The seven-hour meeting on Tuesday afternoon ended with an order to the IDF to “continue its strikes” against terrorists in the Strip “as needed,” The Times of Israel reported. An unnamed minister, who attended the meeting, said that no vote was held on a possible Egyptian-brokered ceasefire with Hamas.
“Israel maintains its right to act. Requests from Hamas for a ceasefire came through four different mediators. Israel responded that the events on the ground will decide [if a ceasefire will go into effect],” an Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Over the past several weeks, Israel has worked strenuously with the United Nations and Arab states to reach an “agreement” with Hamas, aimed at restoring calm along Israel’s southern border and easing the suffering of Gaza’s civilian population. However, just as a truce was in reach, Hamas and its terrorist allies launched a 460-rocket barrage at Israeli border communities.
In addition, Israel has demonstrated flexibility and immense restraint in the face of ongoing rioting and attacks along and across the border. On November 8, Israel allowed Qatar to deliver $15 million in cash to Gaza to pay the salaries of Palestinian civil servants. The payment was the first installment of a total of $150 million the Qataris intend to send with Israel’s approval.
Despite hopes that the payment would prompt Hamas to maintain calm along the border, rioting continued November 9, with some of the 10,000 Palestinian participants throwing explosive devices at soldiers. One Palestinian crossed the border and set fire to a greenhouse in Netiv Ha’asara before being arrested.
[Photo: The Israel Project/ YouTube]