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Israel rejects Hamas cease-fire offer as humanitarian crisis deepens in Gaza

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Israel rejected a cease-fire offer from the Palestinian group Hamas as a humanitarian aid crisis erupting in the Gaza Strip threatened wider instability. The crisis in the troubled Palestinian territory deepened as President Bush, meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Washington, offered assurances that a two-state deal is possible before he leaves office in January.

Hamas offered a six-month truce to Israel on Friday if Israel would end a blockade it has imposed since June on the Gaza Strip, after Hamas seized the disputed territory, Al Jazeera reports.

... [The] Palestinian group offered to cease cross-border rocket attacks if Israel opens crossing points into Gaza and ends military incursions into the Palestinian territory.
Ghazi Hamad, a Hamas spokesman, told Al Jazeera that it would aim to improve the situation in Gaza first and then expand to the West Bank as well.
He said: "I think the key condition for this ceasefire is that Israel should re-open all the crossings [into Gaza], especially the Rafah crossing, in order to allow people and goods to move in and out and to lift the embargo on the Palestinian people.
"Without opening the crossings, there will be no means for the ceasefire."
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