Israel Nears Decision on Gaza Ceasefire

Cabinet may approve unilateral move at meeting tomorrow
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2009 2:24 PM CST
Israeli soldiers celebrate as they return from the Gaza Strip.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Israel’s security cabinet will meet tomorrow to discuss, and likely approve, a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza, the Jerusalem Post reports. The move comes after negotiations in Egypt and the signing of an agreement with the US designed to halt smuggling of arms into Gaza. The ceasefire does not include Hamas as a direct party, as Israel does not want to legitimize the group.

The duration of the ceasefire was an issue; Hamas had wanted it to last only a year before walking out on negotiations. Since then, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, Israel has worked “over Hamas’s head.” Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni was blunter. “We do not make agreements with terror but find effective arrangements against it.”