Minister Warns: Cease-Fire to Put Political Pressure on Israel
Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) strongly vetoed Egypt's offer for a ceasefire Tuesday, speaking as the Security Cabinet was in the midst of meeting over the future of Operation Protective Edge against Hamas.
"I am against a cease-fire," Katz said. "Under the circumstances, we can do a lot better."
Katz noted that the issue is a matter of Israel's long-term security needs.
'We have not removed the threat of rocket fire completely, and we have not eliminated the Hamas elite," he stated. "If we were successful [in this], the world would give us a standing ovation."
"Ending the operation this way would put heavy political pressure on Israel," he continued.
Egypt offered a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas to begin at 9:00 am IST on Tuesday; the Israeli Political-Security Cabinet is currently holding an emergency hearing on the offer.
Meanwhile, Hamas categorically rejected the offer.
"A ceasefire without reaching an agreement is rejected. In times of war, you don't cease fire and then negotiate," Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told AFP Monday night.
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.
But according to Katz, the refusal is a front.
"They say that the military wing of Hamas is against a cease-fire? Nonsense!" Katz stated. "They know how to do good business."