Israeli inner cabinet to meet to discuss truce with militants
Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert was set to convene his security cabinet Wednesday to discuss whether to accept a truce with Gaza Strip militants, or whether to press ahead with military action to end rocket fire on southern Israel, reported dpa.
The issue was discussed Tuesday at consultations Olmert held with Defence Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni.
No details emerged from that meeting, but Israeli media reports Wednesday morning said that while Olmert and Livni wanted to give the go-ahead for a military offensives in the enclave, Barak preferred to give Egypt more time to mediate a truce.
Cairo's mediation has as yet to achieve results.
During a full cabinet meeting Tuesday, a majority of ministers expressed opposition to a "weak" ceasefire that would allow Hamas to rearm, regain strength, and prepare for a new round of fighting, Israeli media reported.
Israel has insisted that the truce include provisions to stop the militants from smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip, and also demands that an Israeli soldier snatched in a June 2006 cross-border raid be released.
But Hamas, which is holding Corporal Gilad Shalit, demands that Israel free Palestinian prisoners in exchange. However, Israeli officials have nixed most of the prisoners Hamas wants released as they are directly responsible for killing Israelis.