Gaza's embattled Hamas leaders are seeking a cease-fire after months of Israeli attacks and sanctions that have left the area isolated and mired in poverty — going so far as to make an unprecendented [sic - EoZ] appeal through the Israeli media, a government official confirmed Wednesday.
The gesture came Tuesday after an especially bloody day in which the Israeli air force killed 12 militants, including a top commander. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged to continue targeting the leaders of militant groups whose rocket fire has tormented the lives of thousands of people in southern Israel.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh reached out to Israel in a phone conversation Tuesday with a reporter for Israel's Channel 2 TV, said spokesman Taher Nunu.
Haniyeh spoke of a truce and said Israel must halt its offensive in Gaza for the cycle of violence to end. "The occupation should stop its attacks and siege," Nunu said. "Then a truce would be possible, and not unlikely."
The reporter who spoke to Haniyeh, Suleiman al-Shafi, told The Associated Press that the Hamas leader complained that Israeli attacks have foiled his attempts to halt the rocket fire. Islamic Jihad, a smaller militant group, has been responsible for most of the rocket fire out of Gaza since Hamas seized control of the area last June.
"I am always trying to stop the rockets from all factions, especially Islamic Jihad, but Israel's assassinations always catch me off guard and spoil my attempts," the reporter quoted Haniyeh as saying.
Hamas officials said they have also sent overtures to Israel through unidentified third parties.
Every previous time that Hamas has floated ideas of a temporary truce has been in response to Israeli offensive actions. Clearly, Haniyeh respects violence far more than diplomacy.
His absurd lies about how Israeli actions ruin his negotiating an end to rocket attacks are amusing, though.
Tellingly, the pro-Abbas Palestine Press Agency is all over this story - not from the perspective that Haniyeh is turning peaceful, but that he is a hypocrite.
The commenters on the site are calling Haniyeh a collaborator with Israel and its army of dogs and pigs and prostitutes. None of the "moderate" Fatah supporters on the site are welcoming the possibility of a truce.
Similarly, Fatah is accusing Hamas of negotiating a "secret deal" with Israel where Hamas leaders are spared assassinations.
PalPress also linked to a wonderful video at YNet showing the missile blast that killed Islamic Jihad leader Majed al-Harazin. The "moderate" commenters are without exception mourning the Islamic Jihad terrorists, as are Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank. Clearly, their hatred for Hamas cannot be mistaken for a desire for peace with Israel, because even when Israel successfully kills known terrorists - with no civilian deaths, and even when the video shows how Israel refrained from firing until there were no cars around - Israel is universally condemned by "moderate" Palestinian Arabs and they support the even more radical PIJ over Hamas.