Hamas, of course, would only want a truce in order to give it time to amass strength to fight again more effectively. From AP, with thanks to Mackie:
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) – The Hamas-led Palestinian government called for a cease-fire in its violent two-week standoff with Israel but stopped short Saturday of offering to release an Israeli soldier held by Hamas militants. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert rejected the proposal by Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Olmert will not agree to a truce until Hamas releases the soldier, officials in Olmert’s office said.
Earlier, an Israeli Cabinet minister said Israel hopes the fighting, which has killed more than 40 Palestinians and an Israeli soldier, eventually will lead to a broader cease-fire deal.
In fighting Saturday, Israeli troops exchanged fire with Palestinian gunmen, and army bulldozers searched for militants’ tunnels near Gaza City. In northern Gaza, tanks pulled out of the town of Beit Lahiya, leaving a wide swath of destruction after trying to carve out a buffer zone against rockets there.
Israel’s two-week military campaign, prompted by the abduction of Cpl. Gilad Shalit has put the Hamas government under growing pressure. Israel has arrested several Palestinian Cabinet ministers and Hamas lawmakers.
On Saturday, Haniyeh issued a five-point cease-fire proposal, calling on Israel to halt its offensive and release prisoners but saying little about what Hamas is prepared to do in return.