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News, March 2008


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.

Israelis reject Egyptian comprehensive ceasefire proposal with Palestinians, says Islamic Jihad leader Khaled Al-Batsh

Israel rejected comprehensive ceasefire proposal, Islamic Jihad leader says

Date: 23 / 03 / 2008  Time:  14:07
Gaza – Ma'an –

Egyptian officials gave no positive signals to Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives regarding Israel's willingness to enter into a ceasefire with Palestinian factions, a senior Islamic Jihad leader said on Sunday.

"The meeting with the Egyptians tackled the issues of the Rafah crossing, comprehensive ceasefire and the crippling siege on the Gaza Strip, and the Egyptians gave their own comments as well as the Israeli stance," Islamic Jihad leader Khaled Al-Batsh told Ma'an.

He affirmed that the Israelis rejected a ceasefire in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip only. Hamas and the Islamic Jihad insist that any ceasefire must be comprehensive, involving both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Al-Batsh thanked the Egyptian government for their efforts towards lifting the blockade of the Gaza Strip and reaching a comprehensive ceasefire.

Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders met with Egyptian officials this weekend on the Egyptian side of the city of Rafah. Separately, Israel sent Amos Gilad, the head of the Political-Military bureau in the Israeli Defense Ministry to Cairo to meet Egyptian authorities.

Israel Denies Truce offer to Hamas and Islamic Jihad
Jerusalem, March 23, 2008 (RNA) –

Israeli official in Ehud Olmert's bureau on Sunday denied a report that Israel has offered Hamas and Islamic Jihad year-long cease-fire in return for an end to Qassam rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip on its southern towns, Israeli sources said.

"There are no indirect or direct contacts with Hamas. Our position is that if they don't shoot at us from Gaza, we won't shoot back," the source said.

The US Vice President Dick Cheney said Saturday in press conference with Israeli Prime minister Ehud Olmert that US will never pressure Israeli to halt attacks against Gaza strip "as a right to defend itself against rockets from Hamas-ruled territories."
Cheney promised "enduring and unshakable" commitment to Israel's security and "its right to defend itself against those bent on destroying the Jewish state."
The American Vice President justified the Israeli aggressions on the besieged Gaza strip and killing hundreds of civilian Palestinians and children. He also didn’t mention any news to lift the helping suffering Gazans.

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