A senior Hamas official In Gaza said that his organization may offer Israel an unconditional truce in the Strip, but added that such an offer has not been made yet, London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat reported Saturday.
The official, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Arabic language newspaper that “the debate regarding a hudna has been seriously renewed within Hamas and with the other Palestinian factions, we hope we will be successful in this.”
He added, “There would be no prior conditions. A truce on our side and a truce on the Israeli side.”
News agencies reported Thursday that Israel was mulling Hamas’ proposal to discuss a comprehensive truce with the group. However, the Prime Minister’s Office denied the report.
On a Friday visit to the Arab-Israeli village of Kfar Kassem, President Shimon Peres said that “there will be no peace talks with the Palestinians until Qassam attacks on Israel cease.”
Referring to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, Peres said: “Once the incessant Qassam attacks stop, we might be inclined to negotiate with him.”
In keeping with the political line delineated by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Peres reiterated that “negotiations with Hamas will only take place once they meet the three conditions set by the Quartet (UN, Britain, Russia and the US): That is cessation of Qassam fire, official recognition of Israel’s right to exist, and abiding by existing peace accords.”
Hudna has its skeptics
Meanwhile, Sderot's residents, as those of other communities subjected to rocket fire, view the rumored ceasefire as a somewhat of a canard, especially after Palestinians fired a Qassam rocket at Sderot Saturday evening. The rocket landed in the city' industrial area, no injuries or damage were reported.
From a hotel in Ashkelon, Sderot resident Pinhas Amar, whose house was recently destroyed by Qassam rockets, reflected on the latest developments in Gaza Vicinity communities.
"From our experience, and unfortunately we have quite a bit, matters proceed in such a manner that they request quiet, hudna, afterwards the IDF acts and then there truly is quiet," Amar said in a conversation with Ynet.
"But all this is only good for a short period of a few weeks at most," he added. "After all, it doesn't depend on us."
Shmulik Hadad and Yonat Atlas contributed to this report