Hamas Offers Israel Cease-Fire Bid, Report Says

Associated Press
Friday, April 7, 2006

JERUSALEM, April 7 -- The Islamic militant group Hamas has offered Israel a proposal for a broad, extended cease-fire in exchange for guarantees that the Israeli army won't attack militants in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

The Haaretz daily said the new Hamas-led government would pledge not to carry out attacks against Israel and would prevent other Palestinian groups from doing so. The proposal has been relayed to Israel through Egyptian mediators and other third parties, the paper said.

The paper quoted Israeli political and defense officials as dismissing the offer as a "trick." Israel refuses to deal with the new government, saying Hamas must first renounce violence and recognize the Jewish state. Despite heavy international pressure, Hamas has refused to halt its calls for Israel's destruction.

Israel and the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas reached an informal cease-fire in February 2005. Hamas has largely honored the truce.

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