Hamas announced on Tuesday evening that it had agreed to a US proposal for a ceasefire during the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's visit to the region, but Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused it.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a statement last night that his movement had received an offer from the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry for a ceasefire during the UN chief's visit, and accepted it, but Netanyahu refused it.
Abu Zuhri stressed earlier that Netanyahu's claims that Hamas refused to calm the fighting in the Shujaya neighbourhood, east of Gaza, is untrue and a manipulation of facts, adding that Hamas had agreed to several proposals by the International Committee of the Red Cross to declare calm in Shujaya, but Israel has always refused them.
While in Ramallah, UN Chief Ban Ki-moon said: "My message to Israelis and Palestinians is the same. Stop fighting. Start talking. And take on the root causes of the conflict." He urged all parties to support international efforts to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip.