A stream of European leaders converged in Israel Monday to push for a truce in the violence-plagued Gaza Strip while U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, from America, continued making phone calls to numerous foreign leaders in pursuit of a cease-fire agreement.
Despite their efforts, however, one former member of the Hamas organization says there will never be lasting peace between Israel and Hamas, though a temporary cease-fire agreement will likely be arranged.
"There is no chance. Is there any chance for fire to co-exist with the water?" asked Mosab Hassan Yousef, the highly-publicized son of Hamas founding member Sheik Hassan Yousef, in an interview with Fox News.
Yousef, who converted to Christianity and moved to Southern California just last year, said the issue is not about Israel or Hamas, but about their ideologies.
“He (Yousef) says because of Hamas’ ideology, because of its extreme Islamic ideology, there is no chance that Hamas will ever genuinely seek a lasting cease-fire,” said Fox’s Jonathan Hunt, who interviewed Yousef a number of times over the past year for the Fox News special “Escape from Hamas.”
The Fox documentary, which aired this past Saturday, Sunday and Monday, revealed Yousef’s extraordinary story of faith, courage, violence, betrayal and conversion, and came as Israel extended its continuous strikes against Hamas in the Gaza Strip past a week.
In the special, Yousef said the Islamic organization betrays the Palestinian cause, tortures its own members and will never honor any ceasefire with Israel.
“The problem is not Hamas, the problem is not people. The root of the problem is Islam itself as an idea, as an idea,” he says.
Since the latest violence in Gaza broke out, many have blamed Hamas for instigating the deadly onslaught by launching dozens of rockets into Israeli territory for more than a week following the expiration of a six-month truce. Israel, too, has been strongly rebuked by leaders around the world for its “all-out war” response, which has led to the deaths of more than 500 Palestinians, some 200 of which were civilians.
Despite criticisms, however, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the offensive would continue until Israel achieved "peace and tranquility" for residents of southern Israel who continued to be bombarded by Palestinian rocket and mortar fire.
Furthermore, Israeli military spokeswoman Maj. Avital Leibovich, argued that Hamas was to blame for civilian casualties because the Islamic militant group “chose cynically to use those civilians as human shields.”
"Civilians will probably continue to get killed, unfortunately, because Hamas put them in the first lines of fire," she said.
On Monday, there were tentative signs that the current phase of fighting may be nearing an end and that international cease-fire efforts were also gaining momentum.
According to reports, Israel has three main demands: an end to Palestinian attacks, international supervision of any truce, and a halt to Hamas rearming. Hamas meanwhile demands an end to Israeli attacks and the opening of border crossings to vital cargo.
Since bilateral arrangements between Hamas and Israel have been unstable, experts say a new cease-fire will likely involve international monitors — an idea raised by President Bush over the weekend.