UN SG Ban Ki Moon in Cairo to mediate cease fire talks
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is in Cairo today to try and broker a cease fire between Israel and Hamas.
With an Egyptian official acting as an intermediary, Hamas on Monday gave Israel its conditions for a cease-fire, a general in Egyptian intelligence told CNN.
A special Israeli delegation received the letter in Cairo from intelligence chief Mohamed Shehata, the general said.
"We are optimistic about the negotiations so far," the general said.
No details of the conditions were immediately available, nor was there any immediate confirmation of the letter from Israel.
The movement comes amid mounting international pressure to end the hostilities, including U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon flying to the region to personally appeal for a cease-fire.
Ban's call for a truce came on the heels of the single deadliest attack -- an Israeli airstrike that killed a family of 10 -- in the conflict that began with militant rocket attacks from Gaza, to which Israel responded with an aerial offensive.
"This must stop," Ban said late Sunday. He called on both sides to cooperate with Egyptian-led effort to broker a cease-fire.
"I am heading to the region to appeal personally for ending the violence and contribute to ongoing efforts to that end," he said.
Ban joins a growing chorus of Western and Arab diplomats calling for end to the crisis that has raised fears of a repeat of Israel's 2008 invasion of Gaza following a similar spate of rocket attacks. At least 1,400 people were killed in that conflict.
What kind of "conditions" is Hamas demanding?
Hamas is putting conditions on any truce offer. In addition to an end the airstrikes, senior Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said Hamas is demanding the end to Israel's long blockade of Gaza.
The territory has been under a crippling economic embargo since Hamas won control of the territory from the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority, which controls the West Bank.
Hamas also wants Israel to stop targeting the leadership of Palestinian factions and to expand the waters Palestinian fishermen are allowed to trawl from three miles offshore to 30, said Shaath, who is also a Fatah leader.
Hamas knows full well that Israel cannot possibly meet those demands which means, if they insist on keeping them, that Israel will begin a ground assault, probably within the next 72 hours.
This, too, is what Hamas wants. Dead Palestinian civilians are a powerful weapon for their PR campaign against Israel in the international community. Since most nations pretend not to see the hundreds of rockets fired deliberately at Israeli civilians by Hamas and their terrorist friends, Israel can be blamed for "aggression."
This transparent ploy has worked before and will work this time with those nations who know what Hamas is up to, but pretend otherwise. It is the sickening reality of any conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and will never change as long as most of the international media gives Hamas a pass on their terror attacks.