Israel rules out talks with Hamas on Gaza

Jerusalem - Israel on Sunday opted to unilaterally redeploy its troops in Gaza without the need for dialogue with Hamas, which the Jewish state has been battling since 17 July.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni also appeared to rule out talks on long-term arrangements or even on a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, saying: "Hamas can carry on waiting".

Israel could not "trust Hamas, which has broken all the proposed ceasefires, including two which Hamas itself announced," said the minister, seen as a relative moderate in Israel's security cabinet.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said late on Saturday that he would act solely according to Israel's security needs.

"I don't plan on saying when we'll finish [the operation], we have no obligations apart from our security interests," he said. "We will deploy in the places convenient to us."

The security cabinet opted to leave Israel's chair empty at talks planned for Sunday in Cairo, where a Palestinian delegation arrived on Saturday night.

Delegates include the Palestinian Authority's intelligence chief Majid Faraj and six members of Hamas.

The Israel HaYom freesheet, seen as Netanyahu's mouthpiece, said: "The window of opportunity for a ceasefire with Hamas is now shut."

Army spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Peter Lerner confirmed on Sunday the unilateral but partial withdrawal of some Israeli units from Gaza.

"We are redeploying within Gaza, taking out other positions, and relieving other forces from within, so it won't be the same type of ground operation," he said.

"It's changing gear but it's still ongoing."

Public radio said army units had deployed in a 1km-wide band in eastern Gaza, setting up a buffer along the border, while other units had crossed back to Israeli territory.

Disarming Hamas

"The Israeli army should complete the neutralisation of Hamas's tunnels on Sunday and then redeploy to Israel," Israel HaYom said.

"The air force, on the other hand, will continue its raids if rocket firing goes on."

Netanyahu says that in the longer term, Israel will only allow destroyed neighbourhoods of Gaza to be rebuilt if there is an international commitment to a "demilitarisation" of the enclave, meaning the disarmament of Hamas.

Military radio's political commentator said Israel will block all cement and steel imports unless it receives assurance they will not be used to build tunnels for militants to launch cross-border raids.

Senior figures quoted by media suggest Israel is hoping to reach agreement with Egypt and the international community on a possible easing of its eight-year blockade on Gaza without having to talk to Hamas.

Netanyahu has made his position clear, stating on Saturday: "I of course prefer a diplomatic solution, but if there's no choice, we'll of course use all the means at our disposal."

Hosni Mubar 2014-08-03 07:41:30 PM
If Israel took as strong a stand for peace as she does in defending herself, there would be a far greater chance of peace.
dunkie56 2014-08-03 07:44:41 PM
Once again we see that the use of force is the only way to solve problems on this future for the human race..this gets more and more apparent as we enter the 21st century.Thanks United States looks like humanity will reap what you have sown..death and destruction of the human race.... you have taught us well!
Graeme Musto 2014-08-03 07:56:11 PM
War war war, fight until one of you are crushed, I Dont care which but once this is done then maybe the spotlight will be back on matters or urgency in MY COUNTRY because I dont care about yours
Markie Crichton 2014-08-03 08:02:23 PM
PEACE does not come easy and Unfortunately one lives under a REAL THREAT,lets imagine for a moment this happens to Israel what happened in Syria. "Abu Assad, a Syrian rebel leader in Aleppo, was behind the Carlton Hotel bombing in the city through a tunnel that killed 40 Syrian soldiers. 25 tons of explosives were placed underneath the Carlton Hotel in Aleppo, where there were dozens of Syrian soldiers and officers staying. The hotel and all its inhabitants blew up; causing a major uproar within the country that has been suffering from a civil war over the last three years. The underground leader of Aleppo boasted about the action and told the British Guardian in an interview that the inspiration for this underground work came from a Hamas delegation that visited Syria recently When somebody is determined to wipe a nation off a map "they will stop at nothing" I cant see peace in that?
Danie Theron 2014-08-03 09:06:19 PM cant talk and negotiate with untrustworthy people
Sviatoslav Igorevich 2014-08-03 09:10:26 PM
“We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” - David Ben-Gurion, a.k.a. David Grün (1886-1973), Israeli Prime Minister (1948-53, 1955-63) and Chief Architect of Zionist terrorism and the state of Israel; revered by Israelis as "Father of the Nation"
Jojo Balela 2014-08-03 09:33:47 PM
the main aim is to push these Palestinians off these lands so that Israel can build more of its own buildings on top of the graves of the Palestinian children. Palestinians can go make their own homeland somewhere else with the broken pieces of their old homes
konfab 2014-08-04 06:24:28 AM
You neglect the fact that your darling Hamas stores and fires these rockets from public places like hospitals and schools. It's not exactly a state secret that Israel responds with overwhelming force of attacked. This is what any country would do if they had rockets fired at them. Hamas wanted a military solution to their problems against a vastly superior foe. Have you considered that they knew that they would get bombed to the stone age? This conflict can only end by negotiation. It is just a matter of time before the Palestinians realise that Hamas doesn't care about them.
Hugo Pelzer 2014-08-04 07:00:29 AM
Israel has shown great restraint over the years. When Saddam rained Scuds on them during the 1st Gulf War, they didn't retaliate, even if they had full right to. If they were the bloodthirsty warmongers some claim they are, they would have jumped at the chance to help defeat Iraq.