"It's clear to us that Israel is not really interested in a lull, but rather, only wants to buy time," the source said. "Israel will attempt to divert attention away from the embarrassing affairs involving its leaders through escalation in the Gaza Strip. We are preparing for all scenarios, yet at this time we can say that the chances of lull efforts succeeding are slim because of Israel's evasive games."
The senior Hamas figure added that the movement does not show much interest in the political crisis in Israel, even though it affects ceasefire efforts. Meanwhile, Hamas continues to call on its supporters to protest near Gaza border crossings. Earlier Friday, thousands of Hamas supporters took part in a demonstration near the Sufa Crossing.
Crucial cabinet meeting
On Sunday, the prime minister will convene the political-security cabinet and top defense officials in order to discuss Israel's response to Egypt and Hamas regarding the possible ceasefire deal. Senior defense official Amos Gilad's trip to Cairo has been postponed for the time being, but both the Prime Minister's Office and the Defense Minister's Office rejected claims that the delay was a result of political tensions between Olmert and Barak.
For the time being, Israel insists on including the question of abducted IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in any lull agreement, although top officials do not reject the possibility of slight flexibility on the matter ahead of the cabinet discussion. In any case, Israel seeks to advance Shalit's release and officials have emphasized that the Jewish State reserves the right to resort to military moves in order to put an end to rocket attacks and Hamas' military buildup in the Strip.
Roni Sofer contributed to the report