Blair: Gaza Ceasefire in Sight

Israeli leaders torn over next step
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Jan 12, 2009 9:38 AM CST
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, right, looks on. PM Ehud Olmert, second left, vowed that the Israeli army would press on with its offensive against Hamas in Gaza.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – “The elements of an agreement” for a ceasefire in Gaza are in place, Mideast envoy Tony Blair said today amid negotiations in Cairo including representatives of Israel and Hamas. But in Jerusalem, Israeli leaders were weighing an escalation, the Washington Post reports. PM Ehud Olmert is pushing for a “third-phase” attack, while other ministers say Israel should cut its losses while they’re relatively low.

Israeli leaders believe Hamas wants an end to the conflict, the New York Times adds. “For two days, what we have been hearing repeatedly is that Hamas inside Gaza is eager—eager—to achieve a ceasefire,” said an official. Still, Israel isn’t expecting a "white flag” from Hamas, which is reported to have fired as many as 10 missiles into Israel today.