The on a gain off again story of possible cease fire in the Gaza Strip continued as exiled Damascus based Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, sent a messatge to Arab leaders offering to consier the possibilit of an over all calm with Israel. According to th daily Al Hayat, the message was timed to coincide with the Arab League summt scheduled to take place in Syria’s capital over the weekend. Mashaal defended the policy of firing rockets although his actions have come under severe criticism from Arab leaders who regard it as pointless and merely making more difficult attainment of any form of peace in the region. Mashall wrote use of rockets was meant to defend the people of Gaz, but added, “all of the factions of the Palestinian resistance have expressed their willngness to seriously examne the issue of a calm, provided that is overall, concurrent and mutual.”
Egypt, which has been working to broker a peace, has been informed by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, of a willingness for a cease fire provided it includes the West Bank. However, there are as yet no signs the Israel government will accept that proviso. There are risks in any agreement, but continuation of the present situation is a greater risk. A rocket hit an Israel preschool and luckily no one was killed. If a rocket kills Israel children there is no doubt, Israel forces might well strom into Gaza. Everyone needs a period of calm.