Israel dismissed on Friday a Hamas proposal for a six-month Gaza Strip calm during which a blockade on the territory would be lifted, saying the Palestinian movement wanted to prepare for more fighting rather than peace.
The Hamas offer, issued on Thursday following talks with Egyptian mediators, departed from previous demands by the movement that any ceasefire apply simultaneously in Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.
"Israel is interested in peace. Unfortunately, Hamas is playing games. Hamas is biding time in order to rearm and regroup," David Baker, an official Israeli spokesman, said on Friday.
"There would be no need for Israel's defensive actions if Hamas would cease and desist from committing terrorist attacks on Israelis," Baker said, according to Reuters. "Israel will continue to act to protect its citizens."
Hamas was unfazed by Baker's comments. "We still do not have a clear Israeli position. The ball is in the Occupation's court," Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said. "We are ready for all political and military choices to end the siege."