Senior figures in the Islamic Jihad and Hamas movements in the Gaza Strip have taken the first steps in pressuring the Hamas leadership in Damascus to bring about talks on a renewed truce with Israel, on new terms. Hamas chief Khaled Mashal, who resides in Damascus, has approached the president of Senegal with a request that he should mediate in initial talks on a ceasefire, according to Israel's Channel 2 News.
From conversations between Channel 2 reporters and a senior person in Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip, it emerges that pressure from Gaza Strip residents may be beginning to have an effect.
Meanwhile, as dozens more rockets hit southern Israel today, Israel's deputy chief of staff, General Dan Harel, talking to local authority heads in the area, refused to speak about an end to Operation Cast Lead. "This operation is different from previous ones," the general said. "We have set a high goal, and we are aiming at it. We are only at the beginning of the campaign, it's not 'bang and it's over'. The worst is not behind us. It is still ahead of us, and we must be ready for that. What will determine how we stand up to this is how the ordinary citizen protects himself and how the local authority functions."
Harel added, "We are not just striking at terrorists and rocket launchers, but at the entire Hamas regime and every arm of it."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes.co.il - on December 29, 2008