Palestinians: Ceasefire in south already in effect
Gaza sources claim Israel, armed Palestinian factions reach understanding on ceasefire in area, effective as of this weekend. Only one rocket fired at Negev in last two days, no IDF strikes registered in Strip. PMO denies any deal reached with Hamas
Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza have reached an understanding that would lead to a ceasefire in the area, Palestinian sources in the Strip told Ynet Sunday.
According to the sources, the lull has already gone into effect this weekend, during which only one rocket was fired on Israel's southern communities.
The Prime Minister's Office on said that it was "unfamiliar with any agreement on a ceasefire with Hamas."
According to a statement issued by the PMO, "The policy has remained unchanged, as decided by the cabinet and as the prime minister said: 'If they don’t shoot, we won't shoot.' We do not wake up in the morning and think about ways to attack them."
The IDF refused to comment on the report.
In exchange for the suspension of rocket attacks, the sources said, Israel has committed to halting ground operations and air strikes in Gaza.
"Throughout the weekend, and for the first time in many weeks, not a single army aircraft has been sighted over Gaza," a Palestinian source reported.
He estimated that negotiations over expanding the calm would continue, and may also include a resumption of talks on the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who is held in the Strip.
'Egypt mediates in negotiations'
The recent understandings between Israel and Hamas' representatives are reportedly the result of pressure exerted by Egypt and Qatar.
Amos Gilad, head of the political-security branch at the Defense Ministry, will depart for Cairo Sunday to discuss the situation in the territories with his Egyptian counterparts.
Gaza sources claimed that Gilad's visit to Egypt indicates that indirect talks between Hamas and Israel were taking place.
Meanwhile, the London-based al-Hayat newspaper reported Sunday that Egypt has drafted a comprehensive plan for restoring the calm in the territories.
The plan calls for lifting the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and opening the border crossings with Israel, in exchange for a Palestinian suspension of rocket fire on the western Negev.
The paper quoted Egyptian diplomatic sources, who stated that the Egyptian plan has been endorsed by the US and Europe.
Roee Nahmias contributed to the report