Official: Israel considers "mediation" with Hamas 2007-12-19 17:02:19   Print

    JERUSALEM, Dec. 19 (Xinhua) -- Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz said Wednesday that Israel would accept "mediation" between it and Hamas in an effort to stop rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

    "Mediation is something we can think about," Mofaz was quoted by Army Radio as saying.

    "But one thing needs to be clear," he stressed, which is, Israel will not stop its air strikes against the group and other Palestinian military organizations unless they stop launching rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel.

    Israeli Vice Premier Haim Ramon was less optimistic regarding the possibility of "mediation" with the leaders in Gaza.

    "Hamas's calls for a mutual de-escalation does not stem from a desire for a cease-fire," Ramon told Army Radio. "Hamas controls the Strip, and with a single order it can end the firing of Qassam rockets at Israel. We must keep up military pressure, step up the sanctions and thus undermine Hamas's rule in Gaza."

    On Tuesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haneya told Israeli Channel 2 that he was prepared to negotiate an end to the rocket attacks and Israeli strikes.

    Haneya's remarks came after a string of Israeli air strikes in Gaza since Monday night, killing at least 11 Palestinian militants.

    The strikes are IDF's most deadly military response in months to the frequent attacks from the Hamas-controlled territory.

Editor: Song Shutao
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