Hamas, Islamic Jihad 'ready for 24-hour truce': PLO

AFP , Tuesday 29 Jul 2014

A mosque's minaret is seen as smoke rises from an Israeli strike in Gaza City, Tuesday, 29 July 2014. (Photo:AP)

The Palestinian leadership, along with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are willing to observe a 24-hour ceasefire in Gaza Strip, a senior PLO official said on Tuesday.

"After extensive calls and consultations with the brothers in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian leadership announces on behalf of everyone the willingness for a ceasefire and humanitarian truce for 24 hours," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

"We call on all Arab and international parties to support this ... and hold Israel fully responsible for the consequences of refusing it," he said, reading out a statement.

The Palestnian death toll on Tuesday rose to well over 1,100, most of them civilians.

On the Israeli side, 56 people have been killed, most of them soldiers.

The Palestinian leadership was also considering "positively" a UN call for a 72-hour halt to the fighting, he said.

"There is also a suggestion from the United Nations to extend this truce for 72 hours and we are dealing positively with this suggestion," Abed Rabbo said.

An earlier UN call for an extended ceasefire on Saturday was accepted by Israel but snubbed by Hamas, although it belatedly declared its willingness to halt its fire in a move which never got off the ground.

Abed Rabbo also said a senior Palestinian delegation led by Abbas and including representatives of all the factions would travel to Egypt for talks on ending the conflict.

"The Palestinian leadership decided that a unified Palestinian delegation will go to Cairo to look into everything regarding the next step," he said.

The announcement confirmed remarks to AFP by a senior Palestinian official, in which he said Abbas would visit Cairo with Hamas and Jihad representatives for fresh talks with the Egyptians on ending 22 days of violence in and around Gaza.

He did not say when the visit would take place.

Abed Rabbo also said the Palestinian leadership had "started procedures to internationally prosecute the Israeli government as murderers" in a likely reference to steps to hold Israel accountable through the international justice system.

A Palestnian source who is a part of the talks told Ahram Online that the framework of the talks would be discussing or even amending the Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

The source added that the Egyptian proposed truce would be the main document for the ceasfire talks and that there could be amendments to the original ceasefire propsal.

Fatah and Hamas in early June agreed to form a national unity government, in a fragile reconciliation deal aimed at healing a rift between the Palestinian factions that erupted in deadly clashes in 2007.

Al-Arabiya mentioned that Fatah's Azzam Al-Ahmad, Moussa Abu Marzouk of Hamas and Ziyad Nahal from Islamic Jihad were among the delegation members.

According to Al-Arabiya, the delegation said that the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza was a Palestinian-Egyptian issue that Israel must not interfere in.

*This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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