Hamas denies accepting a 24-hour truce

Ahram Online, Tuesday 29 Jul 2014

A senior Palestinian delegation including all factions will travel to Egypt for talks

Smoke from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014 (Photo: AP)

The Islamist Hamas movement denied on Tuesday an earlier statement by the Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation- Yasser Abed Rabbo- that it was accepting a 24-hour ceasefire.

Sami Abu Zuhri, the spokesperson of Hamas, described Abed Rabbo’s announcement as “incorrect and not associated with the stance of the Palestinian resistance.”

“When there is an Israeli commitment- accompanied with an international pledge- concerning a humanitarian truce, we will examine the matter”, the Palestinian Ma'an news agency quoted Abu Zuhri as saying.

Reading out a statement, Abed Rabbo called on all Arab and international parties to support the 24-hour truce and hold Israel full responsible for the consequences of refusing it. He stated that the willingness for a ceasefire and humanitarian truce for 24 hours came after extensive calls and consultations with Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

The Palestinian 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.

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

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 is not to interfere in.

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