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‘Israel not looking for immediate ceasefire’

Jerusalem is currently not interested in an immediate ceasefire with Gaza, a senior government official says, indicating that Israel seeks to deal Hamas a blow so heavy that it would ensure the terrorist organization will be unable to resume rocket fire against Israel in the long-term future.

“It is quite possible that Hamas would agree to an immediate ceasefire — we’re hitting them hard, they want the situation to cool down,” the senior official tells The Times of Israel, speaking on condition of anonymity. Brokering a ceasefire with Hamas would have been possible a week or a two ago, but an agreement that would leave in place the group’s offensive capacities is an outcome of the current conflagration undesirable to Israel, the official suggested.

Israeli soldiers stand next to Merkava tanks positioned on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip on July 7, 2014. ( photo credit: AFP/JACK GUEZ)
Israeli soldiers stand next to Merkava tanks positioned on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip on July 7, 2014. ( photo credit: AFP/JACK GUEZ)

“Today, we’re not interested in a band-aid. We don’t want to give Hamas just a timeout to rest, regroup and recharge batteries, and then next week or in two weeks they start again to shoot rockets at Israel. Such a quick fix solution is not something we’re interested in.”

While refusing to discuss concretely steps the Israel Defense Forces plan to take in the coming hours and days, the official said that the government is discussing a ground invasion into Gaza “very seriously.”

The security cabinet was scheduled to convene Thursday at 11:30.

— Raphael Ahren

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