Hamas wimped out! Chief: ready for ceasefire Israeli response is…

The Times of Israel reported in No. 15 that Israel and Hamas could reach a cease-fire agreement in the coming days, according to a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity.

Officials said Israel stepped up its bombing campaign Thursday and Friday after Hamas signaled it was ready for a truce, possibly as a final blow before a truce is reached.

Photo: Black smoke rolls as Israeli airstrikes on May 14, 2021, hit Hamas-linked banks in Gaza City.

A diplomatic source with inside knowledge said Friday that the two sides could reach an agreement within days amid intensive efforts to halt nearly a week of deadly clashes.

The source, who asked not to be named, told The Times of Israel that mediators were cautiously optimistic that fighting between the IDF and the Hamas terror group would stop within days.

The diplomat said the negotiators’ assessment was based on the experience of brokering a cease-fire to end previous rounds of violence between the two sides.

On Friday, Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal told a Turkish news agency that the Gaza terror group was ready for a cease-fire, but had not yet received a response from Israel.

He said the United States and Russia are involved in the talks. Another Hamas official told Arab Al-Mayadeen television that no progress had been made in the talks.

An Egyptian intelligence official briefed on the talks told The Associated Press that Israel rejected an Egyptian proposal for a one-year truce with Hamas and other Gaza militants. He said Hamas had accepted the offer.

Photo: Israeli soldiers at a staging area near the Israel-Gaza border amid escalating Palestinian and Israeli violence. on May 14, 2021.

The official said Israel wants to delay the cease-fire until it can destroy more of Hamas’ and Islamic Jihad’s military capabilities. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with reporters.

The diplomat, interviewed by Toy, said negotiators believe Israel’s heavy bombardment of Gaza on Thursday and Friday suggests Israel may be making its final whiplash and will soon agree to stop the fighting.

On Thursday, Israel fired intense mortar shells into the Gaza Strip, then flew 160 planes overnight, dropping hundreds of bombs over nearly an hour aimed at destroying a network of tunnels dug underneath the Strip.

Photo: An explosion lights up the sky after an Israeli air strike on Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip early in the morning of May 14, 2021.

another official told The Times of Israel that although no direct calls were made to Israel, Egypt has played a major role in the ongoing efforts to end the violence, speaking on the phone with officials from Hamas, Qatar, the United States and other countries.

Hadi Amr, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Israeli and Palestinian affairs, arrived in Tel Aviv on Friday for talks with both sides aimed at ending the ongoing round of conflict with Gaza.

Amr arrived in Tel Aviv today to reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm that recognizes Israel’s right to self-defense,” the U.S. Embassy in Israel tweeted. Israelis and Palestinians deserve equal freedom, security, dignity and prosperity.

Photo: The U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Israeli-Palestinian Affairs arrives at Ben Gurion Airport on May 14, 2021.

Hours before that, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the fighting “is not over.

“We will do everything we can to restore security to our cities and our citizens,” he said.

Photo: A long expose shows the Iron Dome intercepting a missile launch as rockets are fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel on May 13, 2021.

Member states will unanimously call for a cease-fire at an emergency meeting on Sunday on the violence in Israel and Gaza, but members of the body may not agree on where to place responsibility for the fighting, a Security Council diplomat said.

Photo: Israeli firefighters and security forces inspect damage to homes hit by rockets fired from Gaza, May 12, 2021

The diplomat said the meeting would further pressure Israel and Hamas to agree to restore calm.