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Some expect Israel-Hamas cease-fire on Thursday, though Netanyahu says fighting will continue “as long as necessary”

A senior Israeli political official said Tuesday night that “if there is no surprising turn of events,” a cease-fire with Gaza is expected on Thursday. But the fighting continued overnight, with two Thai workers at a Israeli factory killed by rocket fire from the Gaza Strip, and a Palestinian journalist reported killed in Gaza.

But political officials made it clear that despite attempts by the international community to calm tensionsIsrael has not yet held cease-fire talks with Hamas. And Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that he currently has no intention of halting Israel’s current operation.

“We will continue for as long as necessary in order to restore quiet to all citizens of Israel,” Netanyahu said during a tour of the Hatzerim Israeli Air Force Base. “I am certain that all of our enemies all around us see the price for aggression against us and that they too will learn the lesson.”

READ MORE from Haaretz: Aluf Benn says this is Israel’s “most failed and pointless operation” yet in Gaza; [Amos Harel analysis:]( “Netnayahu wants a clear victory;” and U.S. travelers stranded in Israel as consular services suspended.

The defense establishment and political officials identified three possible routes to achieve a ceasefire: Egyptian mediation, U.N. mediation or a unilateral cease-fire by Israel, a move that would likely be reciprocated by Hamas. President Biden told Netanyahu in a phone call on Monday that he supports a cease-fire.

Israeli sources believe that Hamas has already fulfilled many of its main goals in the current round of clashes: positioning itself as the defender of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, strengthening its foothold in the West Bank, and aiding Yahya Sinwar in his personal aspiration to succeed President Mahmoud Abbas, against the backdrop of the recent cancellation of the Palestinian Authority elections.

At the request of the United States, Israel provided intelligence to the U.S. Department of Defense on Tuesday showing that Hamas conducted military operations from the high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of the Associated Press and other news outlets and was demolished by an Israeli airstrike on Saturday. The airstrike was met with harsh criticism in the United States and abroad, as it took out A.P. cameras on the rooftop that broadcast images of the war to the world.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign ministers failed to agree Tuesday on wording for a declaration calling for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas due to opposition from Hungary.

E.U. Foreign Minister Josep Burrell said after the conference that there was widespread agreement that “the top priority is an immediate cessation of all violence and the implementation of a cease-fire.” The Foreign Ministry is continuing its work to preserve the legitimacy of continued military operations.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi has spoken in recent days with more than 40 foreign ministers, and Israeli ambassadors have been deployed for interviews with hundreds of media outlets around the world.

However, despite political support, mass demonstrations in Europe and North America are mounting against Israel’s conduct and the continuation of the operation.

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