Hamas Offers Yet Another Cease Fire
A senior Hamas leader indicated Monday that the militant group is halting attacks on Israelis while the Palestinians prepare to choose a new leader, the latest sign of change following the death of Yasser Arafat. Sheik Hassan Yousef, the groupÃ¢€™s top leader in the West Bank, said Hamas also would consider a formal truce with Israel. Hamas has carried out dozens of suicide bombings and other attacks, killing hundreds of Israelis during four years of fighting.
Since ArafatÃ¢€™s death Nov. 11, there has been a sharp drop in violence. The Palestinians have turned their attention to Jan. 9 presidential elections, while Israel has curtailed its military activity and made a series of gestures meant to ensure that the vote goes smoothly. Ã¢€œIn the current situation, many political and militant groups have halted their attacks. They are waiting and exploring the new era,Ã¢€ said Yousef, who was recently released from an Israeli prison after serving a 28-month sentence.
He also said that Hamas would consider a formal cease-fire, if Israel reciprocates. He said Israel must be prepared to release Palestinian prisoners, withdraw from occupied land and stop targeted killings of militants. Ã¢€œThe truce should have a price,Ã¢€ he said. Ã¢€œThere is no truce from one side. The truce should be two-way. But a truce with continued Israeli aggression is not acceptable to us.Ã¢€
So, in order to stop committing murder, Hamas wants previous murderers released and for Israel to stop going after murderers who haven’t been caught. And, if all goes as it has for the past two generations, these people will soon be out killing Israeli civilians again once they don’t get their way on some issue or another.
I’m guessing the Israelis will view this offer with some skepticism.