Israel 'willing partner' in potential cease-fire

Associated Press
An Israeli soldier stands on a tank at a staging area near the Israel Gaza Strip Border, southern Israel, early Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging Israeli forces and Gaza militants to hold their fire, warning that a further escalation of the seven-day-old conflict would endanger the entire region. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)
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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel's prime minister says Israel would be a "willing partner" in a cease-fire with Gaza's ruling militant group Hamas.

Benjamin Netanyahu made the pronouncement Tuesday at a meeting with U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon, who is in the region as part of an international diplomatic push to end nearly a week of fighting between Israel and Hamas.

Netanyahu says that "if a long-term solution can be put in place by diplomatic means, Israel will be a willing partner."

Israel launched the offensive last week to end months of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

Ban has condemned the rocket attacks but urged Israel to show "maximum restraint." He also has offered his services to help broker a truce.

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