Hamas Declares 'Truce' Failed

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CBNNews.com - CAIRO, Egypt - A senior delegation of Hamas officials declared Wednesday that the Egyptian-brokered tadhiyah [temporary calm] failed because of "obstacles" Israel placed in the road.

On Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak offered Hamas a two-tiered deal. In exchange for a cessation of Kasam rocket and mortar shell attacks, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) would halt its counter-terror operations in the Gaza Strip.

Following that, the release of captured IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit would precipitate opening the border crossings and lifting an economic embargo.

On Wednesday, the Hamas delegation, led by Mousa Abu Marzouk and Mahmoud al-Zahar, rejected Israel's offer.

"Israel wants a free truce," a Hamas official in Gaza said. "They don't want to offer anything in return. They want an end to rocket attacks in return for an end to their aggression," he said.

While Hamas demanded the immediate opening of the border crossings, Israel said the border crossings wouldn't reopen until a truce was in place and all the Palestinian the factions were observing it.

The release of Corporal Shalit is also a precondition of reopening the crossings.

"Israel's conditions are completely unacceptable," a senior Hamas official said. "These conditions are clearly aimed at foiling Egypt's [mediation] efforts."

Earlier, Hamas also rejected Israel's insistence that the reopening the Rafah border crossing with Egypt would be under a 2005 agreement, which gives security control to Palestinian Authority forces.

Sources: The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz

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