Israel ready to give Gaza ceasefire a chance: Netanyahu

JERUSALEM Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:53pm IST

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pictured during his meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem November 20, 2012. Israel wants to find a long-term, diplomatic solution to resolve the Gaza crisis, but will not hesitate to escalate its military campaign against Palestinian militants if needed, Netanyahu said on Tuesday. REUTERS/UN Photo/Evan Schneider/Handout

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pictured during his meeting with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the prime minister's residence in Jerusalem November 20, 2012. Israel wants to find a long-term, diplomatic solution to resolve the Gaza crisis, but will not hesitate to escalate its military campaign against Palestinian militants if needed, Netanyahu said on Tuesday.

Credit: Reuters/UN Photo/Evan Schneider/Handout

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. President Barack Obama on Wednesday he was ready to give a ceasefire with Hamas militants a chance, his office said in a statement.

Egypt announced earlier that Israel and Hamas had agreed to a ceasefire to end eight days of fighting in the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis.

"(Netanyahu) spoke a short while ago with President Barack Obama and agreed to his recommendation to give the Egyptian ceasefire proposal a chance, and in this way provide an opportunity to stabilise the situation and calm it before any more forceful action would be necessary," an Israeli statement said.

(Reporting by Allyn Fisher-Ilan; Created by Crispian Balmer)

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