Israel ga torsdag det første signal om hva som trengs hvis det skal gå med på våpenhvile: internasjonale observatører som kan overvåke at betingelsene holdes.

Statsminister Ehud Olmert antydet at det internasjonale samfunn må inn og sørge for at våpenhvilen er effektiv.

He seemed to be looking for a diplomatic way out, telling Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other world leaders that Israel wouldn’t agree to a truce unless international monitors took responsibility for enforcing it, government officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the talks were confidential.

International intervention helped Israel to accept a truce that ended its 2006 war with Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, when the U.N. agreed to station peacekeepers to enforce the terms. This time, Israel isn’t seeking a peacekeeping force, but a monitoring body that would judge compliance on both sides.

The idea was floated before the offensive but did not gain traction because of the complications created by the existence of rival Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza, defense officials said.

Todelingen av palestinsk makt er kompliserende. En internasjonal overvåking sitter nok langt inne for Hamas.

En av Hamas’ fremste ledere ble drept i et flyangrep torsdag.

The airstrike targeted the four-story apartment building that was home to 52-year-old Nizar Rayan, ranked among Hamas’ top five decision-makers in Gaza. It also killed 12 other people including two of Rayan’s four wives and four of his 12 children, Palestinian health officials said. The Muslim faith allows men to have up to four wives.

A professor of Islamic law, Rayan was closely tied to Hamas’ military wing and was respected in Gaza for donning combat fatigues and personally participating in clashes against Israeli forces. He sent one of his sons on an October 2001 suicide mission that killed two Israeli settlers in Gaza.

Israel kills top Hamas figure, escalating campaign