Mesha'al says Gaza-Israel
ceasefire must be bilateral, Abbas suspends peace until Israelis stop
their attacks on Gaza
Hamas political leader Khaled Mesha'al: Gaza-Israel
ceasefire must be bilateral
Date: 05 / 03 / 2008 Time: 10:02
Bethlehem – Ma'an –
The exiled head of Hamas' politburo, Khaled
Mesha'al, has rejected a proposal by the Secretary General of the Arab
League, Amr Mousa, suggesting that Hamas unilaterally stop firing
homemade projectiles at Israeli towns bordering the Gaza Strip, Arab
diplomatic sources said on Tuesday.
Khaled Mesha'al insisted that any ceasefire must be bilateral, meaning
that Israel should halt its attacks on Gaza in exchange for Hamas
halting the launch of the projectiles.
Mesha'al and Mousa met a few days ago in Damascus. Sources who knew the
outcome of the meeting said that Hamas also insisted that Israel should
not have any role, physical or electronic, in operating the Rafah border
crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.
In addition, the sources said, Hamas insists that the European monitors
stationed at the crossing should be based in the Egyptian border city of
Al-Arish, not in Israel, that Palestinian security forces stationed at
the crossing be affiliated to President Mahmoud Abbas, not the
government of Prime Minister Salam Fayyad. Hamas also wants to have its
own checkpoints on the road to the crossing point, and a share of the
economic benefits of trade that passes through the crossing.
Sources also highlighted that contacts between the Egyptians and Hamas
are still ongoing in attempts to hammer out an agreement on several
issues that emerged after the breach of the border wall between Egypt
and the Gaza Strip. Some Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are still
detained in Egypt after that incident, and the Egyptian authorities are
still upset at Hamas' behavior after the incident.
Abbas: Peace talks will be resumed if Israel
stops attacks on Gaza
Wednesday March 05, 2008 14:49 by Ghassan Bannoura -
The Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, said on
Wednesday that he would continue peace talks with Israel if the latter
agreed to halt attacks on the Gaza Strip.
On Sunday, President Abbas halted talks with Israeli officials in
protest of the military attacks on the Palestinian coastal region. The
military ground operation, dubbed "Operation Hot Winter", targeted the
northern part of the Gaza Strip, beginning on Saturday at dawn and
continuing through Monday morning. During this attack, 86 Palestinians
were killed, among them children, as well as nearly 300 injured.
B'TSELEM - The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the
occupied Palestinian territories, issued a report on Tuesday, stating
that 54 of those killed in the three day offensive on northern Gaza were
civilians, among them 25 children.
The U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice arrived in the region on
Tuesday for a two day visit, in an attempt to persuade President Abbas
to return to the negotiating table.
On Tuesday, Secretary Rice meet Egyptian and Palestinian officials, and
was set to meet Israeli officials today.
Yesterday, President Abbas told Secretary Rice, "The negotiations must
be started, but after the truce, once the truce is achieved, the road
will be open for negotiations."
President Abbas offered his truce on Monday, which involves the halt of
attacks on Gaza, in return for Hamas, which controls Gaza, to stop the
launching of homemade shells into southern Israeli areas. In addition,
Egypt will open the borders with the Gaza Strip.
Olmert stated on Tuesday that he is willing to return to negotiations
with the Palestinians, but the army will continue to attack Gaza.
Palestinian homemade shells have killed 13 Israelis since 2001, while
Israeli attacks resulted in killing thousands of Palestinians in the
same period, in just three days over the weekend left 86 Palestinians
Hamas took total control of Gaza in June 2007 after six months long of
bloody infighting with President Abbas' rival Fatah faction.
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