Palestinians offer Israel limited truce
Islamic Jihad leader says main Palestinian factions including Hamas, Fatah offer to stop firing Qassams in exchange for cessation of all attacks on Gaza Strip, West Bank; ‘for the good of the national Palestinian interest there is a position supporting ceasefire,’ he adds
An Islamic Jihad member said late Thursday that Palestinian militant groups offered to stop firing rockets into Israel in exchange for a cessation of all attacks on the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank.
Islamic Jihad leader Khader Habib said the main Palestinian factions including the governing Hamas group, the rival Fatah of President Mahmoud Abbas and other smaller groups reached the understanding while meeting Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh.
“For the good of the national Palestinian interest ... There is a position supporting calm (a ceasefire) by stopping rocket fire in return for an end to the aggression against our people in Gaza and the West Bank,” Habib told Reuters.
Habib said a deal would only take effect after Israel agrees and actually ends military actions. The offer was limited only to rocket firing and did not include other forms of attacks by militants such as cross-border attacks and suicide bombings.
It was the first time that all Palestinian factions and militant groups had agreed on a common proposal.
Israel presses on
He added that Haniyeh would take the proposal to Abbas in their meeting later on Thursday in the hope that the president would then put it to Israel.
“If the Israelis agree then the deal will be ratified by all parties. The implementation of the agreement will be pending on whether we will see an end to the aggression on the ground,” Habib said.
On Wednesday, the Israeli government decided to press on with a five-month-old offensive which it launched after militants abducted a soldier in a cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip last June.
It stopped short of a massive assault to curb an upsurge in Palestinian militant rocket strikes on the Jewish state.
Israel has killed nearly 400 Palestinians in Gaza, about half of them civilians, since it began the offensive, hospital officials and residents say. Three soldiers have been killed.