Israel’s offensive against Hamas in the Gaza strip continues for a seventh day as international leaders attempt to broker a cease-fire agreement.Egyptian sources told Haaretz that a ceasefire signing will occur Wednesday in Cairo and sources tell BBC that it could go into effect tonight.
Yet Israel insists on keep its ground forces ready at a moment’s notice while rockets fly into its territory. Even with a peace deal seeming more likely, Israeli planes continue to strike northern Gaza.
Meanwhile, two of Israel’s top leaders have expressed some strong sentiments.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Hamas leaders to choose between the hand of peace, or “the sword” — from his statement:
“Our hand is outstretched in peace to those of our neighbours who want to make peace with us and the other hand is firmly grasping the sword of David against those who wish to uproot us from this country.”
Just this October Netanyahu boasted that “in all my years, I have never declared war” during a re-election campaign speech to the Israeli Knesset (a Congressional or Parliamentary equivalent). He went a step further during the speech and said that his predecessor Ehud Olmert had engaged in “two unnecessary” wars, those of the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
In response to the notion that all three Israeli military offensives in the past 16 years have come on the eve of national elections in Israel, Israeli President Shimon Peres said: “No politician in Israel would endanger our children for votes.”
Then Monday evening on CNN, Peres said the following:
“Whoever criticises us should suggest an alternative – we started with great restraint. In the last six days 1,200 missiles fall on our civilians lives, on mothers, on children. We tried to do it with restraint, but apparently they hide themselves in private homes, even in mosques, and we are trying to do our best not to hit any civilian on the other side, but unfortunately a war is a war and they can stop it in one minute if they’ll stop shooting, there won’t be any causalities.”
Peres added that he is disappointed with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ insistence to continue with a UN request for a non-member status — a request that the U.S. has promised to veto time and again.
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