Israel sets 36 hour ultimatum for Hamas

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

IDF forces stage around Gaza
Image: Israel Defence Force.

Israel warned Hamas yesterday to cease rocket fire and threatened a widening offensive if Hamas continues. Hamas maintains Israel "is the aggressor."

The ultimatum comes after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated the Israel Defence Force (IDF) was "prepared for a significant expansion of the operation" and after 75,000 army reservists were drafted for duty.

"We are at a junction. Either we go toward a calm or toward a meaningful widening of the operation… including a possible move to achieve complete military decision", said Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to IDF Radio.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is in the region meeting with the Arab Leauge in an attempt to negotiate a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza. There has been some optimism as Netanyahu met with his cabinet members to discuss a phased ceasefire agreement.

Israel has led an air campaign targeting high ranking Hamas commanders, rocket launcher locations, and Hamas communication sites, but has come under scrutiny with the rising number of civilian deaths in Gaza.