It was mostly quiet in southern Israel, with a lower number of rockets fired into the area, as Israel continued to strike at the Gaza Strip. Meanwhile mere miles from the entrance to the 141 square mile strip, over 75,000 soldiers with the Israeli Southern Command and Reservists stand ready for one simple order: invade.
Arutz Sheva reports
that the Israeli government is giving the Hamas organization until Tuesday evening to accept it's conditions for a truce, and stop attacking the Jewish state, or face a ground war, 'in hours not days,' quoting Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.
to Israeli Army Radio Monday morning and told the audience of Israelis that the country was at a critical juncture. "We are at a junction," he said. "Either we go toward a calm or toward a meaningful widening of the operation, including a possible move to achieve complete military decision."
Arutz Sheva reported Monday that large gaps remain in the negotiations between Israel and a negotiator in Egypt, believed to be a member of Egyptian intelligence.
Deputy Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzouk, 61-years-old and living in Egypt has stated that the group wants a lifting of some restrictions connected to the blockade on Gaza, which according to a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East report
, has seen poverty grow to an unprecedented level, with over 50 percent of Gazan's living under the consumption poverty level.
Hamas also wants an end to cross border incursions by the Israeli Defense Forces and an end to targeted killings. The group also opposes a 'security belt' the Israeli's want to impose on the eastern side of the Gaza Strip.
For it's part the State of Israel reportedly is demanding a cessation of rocket fire for a period of "several years," according to Arutz Sheva and an end to arms smuggling in the Gaza Strip. The Israeli government purportedly has agreed to reopening the Rafiah crossing with Egypt into Gaza, but does not want to open any crossings into Israel.
A senior official in Jerusalem told the Voice of Israel that the two sides could know by Monday what the week may bring, and any deal would mean Israel lifting the blockade to one degree or another on the Gaza Strip.