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Israel seeks long-term ceasefire claims report

A report on Israel's Channel 2 has said that the Israeli government is seeking a long-term ceasefire over Gaza and is minded to accept a Qatari initiative to calm the situation, Arabs48 news website has claimed.

According to the report, Israel and Hamas have received two offers for a ceasefire: the first from the head of Turkish intelligence and the second from Qatar. Israel has rejected the Turkish proposal because of the official's close relationship with Iran but is inclined towards the Qatari proposal.

However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has hinted at escalating the war in Gaza if a long-term ceasefire agreement is not reached. He was quoted as saying that an agreement should include a complete halt to all cross-border firing, warning that if political means failed Israel would step up its military campaign against Gaza, including a ground incursion. Apparently Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas would be a central party in any mediation.

"Up to now, we have not received any proposal which guarantees quiet for a long time," commented an Israeli official.

Hamas has demanded a return to the ceasefire agreement which was concluded after the Israeli attack on Gaza in 2012, as well as the release of all Palestinians who were detained after the disappearance of the three settlers last month, including those prisoners who were freed under the Shalit prisoner-exchange deal but re-arrested recently.

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