Gaza's embattled Hamas leaders are seeking a cease-fire after months of Israeli attacks and sanctions, going so far as to make an unprecedented appeal through the Israeli media, a Hamas official confirmed Wednesday.
The overture, which the Hamas leader made Tuesday through an Israeli reporter, followed an especially bloody day in which the Israeli air force killed 12 militants, including a top commander.
Despite calls for a cease-fire within his Cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert pledged to continue targeting the leaders of militant groups who fire rockets into southern Israel almost daily.
Ismail Haniyeh, leader of the Hamas government in Gaza, reached out to Israel through a reporter for Israel's Channel 2 TV, said Hamas government spokesman Taher Nunu.
Haniyeh spoke of a truce in his phone conversation with Suleiman al-Shafi and said Israel must halt its offensive in Gaza for the cycle of violence to end, Nunu said.
''The occupation should stop its attacks and siege,'' Nunu said. ''Then a truce would be possible, and not unlikely.'' [DID NOT REFER TO ISRAEL AS "ISRAEL".]
... Islamic Jihad spokesman Abu Hamza said Hamas had not approached his group about a cease-fire.
''This is not a time for truce,'' he told the AP. ''We have to inflict revenge upon this criminal enemy.''
Israel has launched peace talks with the moderate Palestinian president, while sealing Gaza's borders. Abbas has refused to speak to Hamas until it reverses the takeover.
IF HAMAS CAN'T EVEN SAY THE WORD "ISRAEL", THEN THE OVERTURE IS MEANINGLESS:
- THEY ONLY WANT A HUDNA BECAUSE HEY ARE CLOSE TO DEFEAT.
- WE MUSTN'T LET THEM OFF THE HOOK.
- WE LET HIZBALLAH OFF THE HOOK IN 2006.
- THAT WAS A MISTAKE.
WE WILL ONLY ACHIEVE PEACE WHEN WE DEFEAT THE ENEMY, NOT WHEN WE GRANT THEM RESPITE SO THEY CAN RE-GROUP AND TO ATTACK US ANOTHER DAY.