A decision on whether to launch a ground invasion of Gaza has been put off by at least a day, after Israel decided Monday to give the Egyptians more time to try to broker a cease-fire with Hamas, a senior Israeli official said.

Tuesday’s talks in Cairo are expected to be decisive. The Israeli delegates to the talks, which are being led by Egyptian intelligence chief Gen. Raafat Shehata, plan to return there on Tuesday to present Israel’s response to demands being made by Hamas. …

Overnight Sunday, Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman conducted a lengthy meeting centered around an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire. The three met with the Israeli envoy who had returned from Cairo after several hours of discussions with senior Egyptian intelligence officials, according to the senior Israeli official. …

Both Netanyahu and Barak are said to be reluctant to launch a ground operation, believing it should be ordered only if Hamas rebuffs all of Egypt’s mediation efforts. The two fear the diplomatic fallout that a ground operation would have on Israel’s relationships with Egypt and Jordan, as well as the blow such an operation would deliver to Israel’s image in the west.