Hamas Spokesman Rejects Ceasefire Proposal
Hamas rejected Egypt’s proposed ceasefire in Gaza on Monday night, as Arab foreign ministers in Cairo called on "all parties" to accept the proposal.
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the group would not accept a truce without a fully-fledged deal to end hostilities, according to AFP.
"A ceasefire without reaching an agreement is rejected. In times of war, you don't cease fire and then negotiate," he told the news agency.
Barhoum added Hamas had not received any official proposal and that "the weapons of the resistance are a red line."
Earlier Monday night, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the group would not agree to any ceasefire that does not “meet the demands of the Palestinian people.”
“Today we are facing an important stage in the conflict with the Israeli occupation. Years of a blockade did not prevent our resistance from taking all possible measures to protect the Palestinian people,” he added.
“The Zionist enemy forced the war on us and planned it. Today we are fulfilling our duty to protect our people and our honor," declared Haniyeh.
Meanwhile, the Arab foreign ministers said in a statement they "demand all parties concerned accept the Egyptian initiative" and commit to its terms.
The Cabinet is to vote about the Egyptian proposal early Tuesday morning, and diplomatic officials said that the proposal would return the situation on the ground to the state it was before Operation Protective Edge, but with a Hamas that is much weaker than before.
Nationalist Knesset Members expressed outrage over the ceasefire, including Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), who said the proposal is “a disaster.”
Minister Ariel stressed that the ceasefire would endanger Israeli citizens. "It won’t be long before Hamas will grow stronger, smuggle more elaborate rockets and open fire again,” he warned.
Asked how he believes Israel should act now, he responded that the operation must continue, “including ground entry. We need to finish the job. Doing half a job is worse than doing nothing.”