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Israeli army denies to propose 48-hour Gaza truce
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Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Tuesday denied a report that the Israeli defense establishment will recommend a 48-hour truce with Hamas.

"The report is not true, our plan is to continue the Gaza operation," an IDF spokeswoman told Xinhua on the phone.

Officials in the defense establishment also denied the report, according to local daily The Jerusalem Post.

The denial came shortly after a report by local daily Ha'aretz that the Israeli defense establishment said it would recommend Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to embark on a 48-hour truce with Hamas, before it becomes necessary to begin a significant ground invasion of the Gaza Strip.

The defense establishment would recommend Olmert to seek out a diplomatic initiative to abate the war against Hamas and initiate a 48-hour ceasefire, said the report.

The Israeli government will announce its decision regarding the temporary truce over the coming hours, it said, adding that the initiative is seen as a possibility to cease the operation before sending a massive IDF ground force into Gaza.

Senior Israeli defense officials believe that such a diplomatic process need not to be a unilateral Israeli procedure, but should rather be based on an initiative originally proposed by French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, said the report.

It added that the goal of the temporary calm would be to see if Hamas can abide by the truce and cease firing rockets at Israel.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government said on Tuesday it was prepared to work with France and other governments on increasing aid flows into Gaza.

"We want to see convoy after convoy of humanitarian support and we are willing to work closely with all relevant international parties to facilitate that goal," Olmert's spokesman Mark Regev was quoted by Ha'aretz as saying when asked about the French proposal for a 48-hour humanitarian truce.

"At the same time, it is important to keep the pressure up on Hamas, not give them a respite, time to regroup and reorganize," added Regev.

Earlier on Tuesday, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said IDF will continue its military action in Gaza against Hamas until all the goals are met.

Barak made the remarks to Israel Army Radio, as the operation, dubbed Cast Lead, entered the fourth day. Hundreds of places in Gaza were bombed during the unprecedented air strikes beginning on Saturday, causing more than 369 Palestinians killed so far.

The IDF operation would intensify "as much as needed to meet the goals we set for ourselves, to bring quiet to the South," said the defense minister.

The operation also aims "to strike a severe blow to Hamas," he said, "in order to bring about an end to firing and other operations against Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers."

(Xinhua News Agency December 31, 2008)

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