Israel Weighs Truce Backed by Ground Threat

Barak favors ultimatum
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 30, 2008 10:31 AM CST
In this photo released by Israel's Government Press Office, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,center, listens to Maj. Gen. Yoav Galant head of the southern command, as Defense Minister Ehud Barak, right,...   (AP Photo/GPO,Moshe Milner,HO)
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(Newser) – Israel is considering halting its Gaza offensive temporarily to give Hamas militants an opening to halt rocket fire, an Israeli defense official said today, but with the threat of a ground offensive if a ceasefire does not hold. Ehud Barak will raise the proposal during a meeting tomorrow of Israel's security Cabinet, which will also be asked to consider various plans for a ground invasion, the defense official said.

Palestinian militants, meanwhile, kept up their rocket assaults on Israeli border communities, despite relentless Israeli air attacks. Israel has never found a military solution to the barrages, and beyond delivering Hamas a deep blow and protecting border communities, the assault's broader objectives remained cloudy. Israeli warplanes smashed a Hamas government complex today, the largest one hit so far, along with security installations and the home of a top militant commander.