Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are in favor of an immediate one-week "humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is avoiding them in order to prevent a government discussion on the issue.
That according to a report in Israel's Ha'aretz daily newspaper on Wednesday, which indicated that Olmert is in no hurry to bring the Gaza war to an end.
Earlier in the week, Olmert insisted that by agreeing to a ceasefire prematurely, Israel would be missing a golden opportunity to finally deal a debilitating blow to Hamas.
Livni and Barak, who are both running for prime minister in the upcoming national election, are seen as far more fearful of international opinion than Olmert, whose political career is all but over and has much less to lose.
Israeli commentators have speculated that Livni and Barak only supported strong military action in Gaza in the first place in order to boost their own poll numbers. Both continue to trail opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu, whom most Israelis see as far stronger on security issues.
In overnight action in the Gaza Strip, Israeli air and ground forces attacked some 60 targets killing an estimated 50 terrorists.
In one incident, Israeli paratroopers shot dead a Palestinian suicide bomber who was trying to approach them as they advanced on Gaza City. It was the first report of an attempted suicide bombing since the Gaza war began more than two weeks ago.
Three Israeli officers and three soldiers were lightly wounded during the operations.
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