This can only help Hamas.
“If Muslims are weak, a truce may be made for ten years if necessary, for the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) made a truce with the Quraysh for that long, as is related by Abu Dawud” (‘Umdat as-Salik, o9.16).
Note that this can only be done if “Muslims are weak.” The same legal manual also quotes this verse of the Qur’an: “So do not be fainthearted and call for peace, when it is you who are the uppermost” (47:35). So it isn’t likely that Hamas would be calling for a truce at all if it felt that it was in a position of strength. “Interests that justify making a truce are such things as Muslim weakness because of lack of numbers or materiel, or the hope of an enemy becoming Muslim…” (‘Umdat as-Salik, o9.16).
The bottom line: Hamas is feeling the heat and wants a truce in order to regroup and emerge in a stronger position.
“Israel and Hamas agree to Gaza truce, officials say,” by Nidal al-Mughrabi for Reuters (thanks to JCB):
GAZA (Reuters) – An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas will begin on Thursday, a Palestinian official said, after Israeli air strikes killed six militants in the Gaza Strip.
The official, who is familiar with the truce negotiations, said on Tuesday the two sides agreed to a six-month deal. He voiced confidence the latest violence would not hold up the start of the agreement to end constant bloodshed.
“Implementation of the truce will begin at 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Thursday,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to announce an accord.
A ceasefire would aim to end rocket and mortar bomb attacks on Israel from the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip and Israeli raids in the territory. Israel has said it would continue preparations for broad military action should a truce fall apart.
A senior Egyptian official was quoted by Egypt’s Middle East News Agency as confirming the Palestinian official’s information. A Hamas source had said announcement of a deal would be made by Egypt.
Israel stopped short of confirming the timing of what it said would be an informal arrangement to halt fighting.
“What is important is not words but actions,” said Mark Regev, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Not words but actions? Getting words but no actions has never bothered Olmert (and many other Israeli leaders) before.