Hamas Leader on Truce Prospects: ‘Maybe Never’
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon arrived in Cairo Monday to join Egypt-brokered talks between Hamas and Israel with a goal of agreeing on a cease-fire. There’s a real sense that with all the instability in the region - the civil war in Syria, protests in Jordan, militants in Libya - that an escalation in hostilities would have disastrous effects.
Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Kandil told the Reuters news agency that the talks were making progress and that he expected a cease-fire agreement to come in the next few days.
However, at a press conference later in the day, Hamas leader-in-exile Khaled Meshaal showed no signs that an agreement was imminent, saying that it was Israel’s responsibility to stop a fight it had started and that Hamas would only agree to a truce if key demands were met.
“We don’t accept Israeli conditions because it is the aggressor,” he told reporters in Egypt. “We want a cease-fire along with meeting our demands … Israel has to stop killing and assassinating our leaders. They have to stop the invasion and end the blockade on Gaza.”
Israel is unlikely to agree to that for fear that lifting the blockade would allow weapons to flood into Gaza and into the hands of militants.