Meshaal claims Israel asked for cease fire to hold off ground invasion, Netanyahu denies ithours away) in order to give negotiations a chance.
Mashaal stated that if Israel wants a truce, it must initiate the cease-fire as they started the war, adding that Hamas caught Israel "off-guard" with their weapons.
However, officials in the prime minister's office denied Mashaal's statement that Netanyahu had asked for a cease fire.
"We have been hitting Hamas very hard," the official said.
He explained that Israel had from the air attacked its weapons arsenal, its leadership, its buildings and communication apparatus.
"Hamas is under a lot of pressure and as a result they are saying many things, that are in no way connected to reality," he said.
Israel had agreed to briefly hold off on sending ground forces into Gaza, to allow time for cease-fire efforts to continue, an Israeli official told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
“Israel prefers a diplomatic solution,” the official said.
But he added that any agreement must provide a real solution that would erase the threat of rocket attacks against Israel’s southern residents.
If such a diplomatic solution is not found, then Israel is preparing its ground forces to enter Gaza, the official said.
He spoke as negotiations for a cease-fire continued in Cairo, where UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon is expected to arrive later today.
Quartet Special Envoy Tony Blair told President Shimon Peres that Egypt, Qatar, America and the UN were working to put in place a ceasefire.
Peres said that he appreciated efforts by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi to end the hostilities.
“Egypt is a significant player in the Middle East. Strangely, it is Hamas that doesn’t listen to the Egyptian President,” he said.There is no such thing as a diplomatic solution that will erase the threat of rocket attacks on the south. There were even rocket attacks in the immediate aftermath of Operation Cast Lead four years ago, when Israel mounted a ground attack, but did not finish off Hamas. The only way to erase the threat of rocket attacks is to erase the terrorists.
What could go wrong?