Mayor of the border Israeli town of Sderot, Eli Moyal, expressed willingness to talk with Hamas over halt of Gaza-based homemade shells fire, offering a 10-year-long pause of hostilities.
Moyal was quoted by the British Guardian newspaper as saying that he is ready to negotiate with the ruling Hamas in Gaza, despite the international ban on any dialogue with the Islamist party, if such a talk would save Israeli lives.
‘I would say to Hamas, let’s have a ceasefire, let’s stop the rockets for the next 10 years and we will see what happens’, Moyal said.
The right-wing Israeli official, added ‘ For me as a person the most important thing is life and I ‘m ready to do everything for that. I ‘m ready to talk to the devil.’.
Moyal’s position has apparently changed after a homemade shell that landed in Sderot last week caused a boy’s leg to be amputated. The Sderot’s mayor was then quoted as calling for the assassination of Hamas leaders and leveling to the ground of an entire neighborhoods in Gaza.
He explained : ‘Imagine 20 kids [in Sderot] being killed in a kindergarten by a missile – then the Israel government would have to act and would lose its morality. If we don’t talk we go deeper and deeper into war. If we don’t talk we should fight.’
He maintained that a major military escalation would be needed to stop the rockets and that would come at the price of ‘innocent people being killed on both sides’.
In the past year, Israel killed more than 300 Palestinians in Gaza, including dozens of civilians, within what Israeli says measures to stop the homemade shells fire. The homemade shells have killed 12 Israelis, since they have been first launched by several Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza in 2001.
The Sderot mayor’s call for dialogue comes as Israel has been recently facing a mounting international pressure to lift the closure of Gaza and halt its actions against the Gaza’s 1.5-million residents, including limiting entry of essential supplies.
United Nations undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, Jhon Holmes, during a visit to the region last week, called for ending hostilities as the best way out of such a cycle of violence.
The European Union parliament passed a resolution on Thursday, considering the Israeli actions on Gaza as ‘ collective punishment’, while calling on Hamas to stop homemade shells fire from its territories.
Hamas’s spokesperson in Gaza, Fawzi Barhoum, told IMEMC that his group welcomes such a resolution , but says that the homemade shells fire is a natural response to the Israeli occupation’s crimes and actions.
Barhoum, however, voiced Hamas’s readiness to consider any initiative that would put an end to the Palestinian people’s suffering.
Since disengaged from the Gaza Strip in September2005, the Israeli army has carried out many incursions into the coastal region, particularly after the Hamas’s militant offshoot captured an Israeli soldier in a cross-border raid in southern Gaza in June2006.
In June2007, the Hamas party took over the coastal Strip amidst a power struggle with Fatah party of President Abbas and ousted Abbas-loyal forces from the region. Right after the take over, Israel enforced a crippling economic blockade on the Strip.
Hamas took power after January2006’s parliamentary elections, and since then, the party has been shunned by the international community and Israel, despite the fact it has offered a long-term truce with Israel and respected past-signed peace agreements with the Israeli state.