Short-term ceasefire, long-term instability foreseen in Gaza

14:51, April 11, 2011      

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An Israeli soldier works on his tank near southern Gaza strip border near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom April 9, 2011. Israel killed four Palestinian militants and wounded half a dozen others as it pursued air raids in Gaza for a third day on Saturday, responding to increased rocket fire out of the territory, local medics said. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

by Adam Gonn

After a weekend of intense Israeli air strikes and artillery fire in response to over 120 rockets launched from the Gaza Strip, Hamas is calling Israel to halt its attacks.

In an interview with the Israel Radio on Sunday, Ghazi Hamad, the deputy foreign minister of the deposed Hamas government, said that "we are interested in calm, but want the Israeli military to stop its operations."

Earlier on Sunday Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Israel was willing to accept a mutual ceasefire with Hamas.

"If they stop firing on our communities, we will stop firing. If they stop firing in general, it will be quiet. It will be good, " Barak was quoted by local newspaper Ha'aretz as saying.

In the last three days, 19 Palestinians, primarily Hamas members, were killed in Israel's retaliatory strikes.

When asked if Israel was considering a ground offensive into the Gaza Strip to end Hamas' rule, Barak said "all options are on the table," but added that an offensive might not be necessary.

Analysts told Xinhua that the two sides could establish a short- term ceasefire, but may not necessarily reach a longer period of calm.

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