Al-Zahar. Reassesing situation
Photo: Reuters

Hamas: Willing to renew truce

Senior group leader Mahmoud al-Zahar tells Egyptian paper Hamas will consider resuming ceasefire under old terms if Israel sticks to its end of the bargain, namely refraining from operating in Gaza, reopening border crossings

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahar said Tuesday that his organization was willing to renew the truce in Gaza if Israel adheres to the terms that have been agreed upon last June.


Speaking with Egyptian newspaper al-Ahram, al-Zahar said that the movement would reassess the situation in Gaza once the 24 hours during which Hamas vowed to halt rocket fire come to an end.


According to the Hamas leader, if the situation appears to be going in a positive direction, the group would consider maintaining the lull.


Hamas is demanding an Israeli commitment to refrain from any military operation in the Strip and to keep the border crossings open. On Sunday al-Zahar blamed Israel for failing to adhere to the ceasefire or open the crossings.


He added that Hamas was undeterred by the possibility of an Israeli operation in Gaza: "We've been hearing talk of a possible Israeli invasion for the past three years. Israel is like a teenager that starts to smoke, and then stops when he chokes. If they want to enter – they're welcome to do so."

IDF tank on Gaza border (Photo: AP)


Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad leader Muhammad Abu Abdullah told the Egyptian paper that his movement has coordinated the temporary cessation in rocket attacks with the other armed factions, and that if there are "positive developments" it would discuss further understandings with the other groups.


Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has invited Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Livni to Cairo this coming Thursday in the hopes of preventing the further deterioration of the Gaza standoff.


Livni is expected to present Jerusalem's current stance, which holds that enough is enough – and that Israel is duty-bound to protect its citizens from the incessant rocket and mortar fire from Gaza.


"We will not allow the prolonged existence of a Hamastan state in Gaza," Livni said during a Kadima security convention in preperation for her visit to Egypt.


פרסום ראשון: 12.23.08, 08:16
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