Israeli government to discuss relations with Gaza — radio


Gaza : The Israeli government will continue Wednesday, for the second day, its discussion on the manner of relations with Gaza Strip, Israel Radio said.

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It said that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will head the meeting in which Israel will decide whether to seek calm or confrontation with the Palestinians in the strip.

It quoted sources in the Israeli government as saying that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called in a meeting Tuesday for trying all means to achieve calm before taking any military action in the strip.

The Israeli council for security and political affairs decided Tuesday not to vote on conducting a military operation in the strip.

Radio Israel also quoted political sources as saying that Israel does not want to cause tension with Egypt by refusing calm.

On Tuesday, head of Hamas Politburo Khalid Mishaal said in press statements that Hamas agreed on an Egyptian mediation and on the number of prisoners to be involved in a deal with Israel, but the list of names was rejected by Israel.

Hamas demanded lifting the siege on Gaza in return for halting the launching of rockets at Israel.

It also demands releasing hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in return for freeing an Israeli soldier captured in 2006.

Israel announced Tuesday that Hamas agreed on a ceasefire in return for easing the tight siege on Gaza’s crossings.

Israel wants Egyptian guarantees to combat the smuggling of weapons from its territories to Gaza Strip.