Cross-Cultural Understanding

News, March 2008


Opinion Editorials


News Photos




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.


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 - IMEMC News

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 dead.

Hamas took total control of Gaza in June 2007 after six months long of bloody infighting with President Abbas' rival Fatah faction.

Fair Use Notice

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.





Opinions expressed in various sections are the sole responsibility of their authors and they may not represent