Livni Heads to Washington to Cut Gaza Deal

Critical step toward truce would block Hamas arms smuggling
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2009 3:47 AM CST
United Nations Secretary General Bar Ki-Moon and Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni take their seats for a joint news conference yesterday.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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(Newser) – Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is on her way to the US to sign a deal central to a Gaza ceasefire as diplomatic efforts intensify to stop the fighting, reports the Jerusalem Post. The agreement, designed to stop Hamas from rearming, would step up intelligence agency cooperation to stop weapons from being smuggled into Gaza from Egypt. Israeli leaders are studying a truce proposal from Hamas, and a top negotiator is bound for Cairo today.

A fighting "time out" could start within 72 hours, possibly leading to a two-week ceasefire during which a lasting agreement could be forged, according to the Post. Hamas has offered a renewable year-long ceasefire if Israel pulls out of Gaza within a week and opens all the Gaza Strip's border crossings, a proposal labeled "credible" by Middle East envoy Tony Blair.