JERUSALEM (AP) — Top Israeli Cabinet ministers Wednesday set a series of tough conditions for accepting a proposed cease-fire with Hamas, saying there would be no deal until the Islamic militant group releases a captured Israeli soldier.
The unanimous decision by the 11-member Security Cabinet was likely to set back Egyptian efforts to broker a long-term truce in the wake of Israel's harsh military offensive in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip last month. Israel planned to dispatch a senior envoy to Cairo in the coming days.
There was no immediate reaction from Egypt or Hamas.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert convened Wednesday's meeting to discuss the emerging deal. Israel has been demanding an end to Hamas rocket attacks and arms smuggling and the freedom of Sgt. Gilad Schalit, who was captured in a cross-border raid in June 2006. (Read the Whole Story)
Egypt has been brokering a more permanent cease fire for some weeks, and it appeared, at one point, that both israel and Hamas could agree to one. That would reopen the borders and allow reconstruction materials, food, and other aid into Gaza--something the Israelis have been refusing to allow thus far. Both wangt the soldier freed, but dissagree on how to do it. The Israeli have now dramatically upped the stakes in the peace process, mostly because Olmert the PM wants the soldier's release before he leaves office.
So, the stupidity continues. COMMENTS?