Israel rejects truce offer, arrests Hamas minister

Thursday, May 24, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Israel on Wednesday rejected the idea of a ceasefire with Hamas, and vowed to turn up the heat on the terrorist organization's infrastructure in the Gaza Strip.

As part of the expanding offensive against Hamas in response to ongoing rocket fire from Gaza, Israel arrested Palestinian Authority Education Minister Nasser al-Shaer overnight in Samaria. Three other Hamas members of parliament and several Palestinian mayors affiliated with the terror group were also rounded up.

The Palestinian education system continues to indoctrinate young Arabs to hate Israel and seek their own deaths in "martyrdom" operations against the Jews.

Earlier in the week, Hamas suggested that it would halt the rocket fire from Gaza in return for a complete cessation of Israeli counter-terror operations in Judea and Samaria. Palestinian officials later indicated that Hamas may unilaterally stop the attacks in order to head off an escalation of Israeli military actions.

But government officials cited by The Jerusalem Post said Israel would not fall victim to the latest terrorist ploy.

Hamas "won't get a prize for stopping the fire that they escalated," said one official.

Hamas and other Palestinian groups have fired more than 200 rockets at communities in southern Israel over the past 10 days.

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