Olmert Says He Favors Ceasefire

Israel PM will send delegate to Egypt, but stops short of acceptance
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2009 8:14 AM CST
A Palestinian woman carries her belongings as she walks through the rubble in street destroyed in recent Israeli airstrikes in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2009.   (AP Photo/Eyad Baba)
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(Newser) – The Israeli prime minister's office said today that it "views positively" efforts by the Egyptians to broker a ceasefire, and that it would send a delegation to a meeting there. But Ehud Olmert stopped short of fully accepting the French-Egyptian plan, which proposes an immediate ceasefire for Gaza, followed by talks on a long-term peace plan. The Israeli delegation could arrive in Egypt as soon as today.

Olmert's office reiterated that its Gaza operation is intended to "bring an improvement in the security reality in the south of Israel," Haaretz reports. The PM said a ceasefire would be conditional on ending rocket attacks and weapons smuggling from Egypt to Gaza via tunnels. The ceasefire has the support of the US and the UN, where this morning the secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, called for an immediate end to violence.