Hamas, Islamic Jihad rule out imminent truce announcement
Leaders of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad told Al Bawaba that there would be no truce with Israel while its army continues its "business of assassinations, arrests and devastation." Both leaders also denied their knowledge of any meeting in Cairo between them and Fatah.
In exclusive statements to Al Bawaba, Islamic Jihad leader Abdullah al Shami and Hamas spokesman in Gaza Mahmoud al Zahar said they are not aware of a meeting between Khaled Mishal from Hamas, Abdullah Shallah from Islamic Jihad with representatives from Fatah. “We have no information about any meeting and Egypt has not invited us to such a meeting,” said Shami.
Zahar also said that his movement is not too concerned about a meeting that they have not heard about.
Earlier, press reports said Head of Hamas politburo Khaled Mishal and Islamic Jihad secretary General Abdullah Shallah would meet with Fatah representatives in Cairo. Sources said that this meeting has come as a result of mediation made by Egypt’s deputy head of intelligence - Mustafa al Behairi - during his meetings last week in Gaza with various Palestinian leaders. The sources also claimed that the meeting would discuss details of the truce that was to be announced by the Palestinian resistance movements.
As far as the truce is concerned, Shami said, “There have been intensive meetings over the past few days between the various Palestinian factions…the meetings aim to declare a decision that will safeguard the Palestinian people and the internal situation. However, he added, “the Israeli escalation of assassinations and incursions has blocked any such decision [from our part] and consequently, the situation will continue as it is without change in our resistance against the enemy.”
The Islamic Jihad leader also pointed out that any announcement of ‘truce’ under the present circumstances means the surrender of the Palestinian people.
Hamas responded to a series of Israeli assassination attempts on its leaders with a suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed 17 Israelis and injured several-dozen others. After the dialogue between the Palestinian government and various factions was resumed, the Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) demanded the militants halt their operations in order to give peace negotiations and the ‘road map’ a chance.
Responding to a question whether communication between the Islamic Jihad and the Palestinian government are still on going, Shami said, “there are no meetings between the two sides at present but communication [between us] has not been disrupted.”
Shami also noted that his movement wouldn’t respect any agreement (between the Israelis and Palestinians) as long as Israeli forces continue their aggression, stating they would respond to any Israeli attacks.
For its part, the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade (Fatah’s military wing) said in an official statement that they would not respect any cease-fire agreement (between the Israelis and Palestinians) unless the issue of the Palestinian prisoners (held in Israeli jails) is resolved.
While the Israeli government refuses to talk about or commit itself to a truce, its representatives held a series of security meetings with the Palestinian side. The security meetings resulted in an agreement to transfer the responsibility of security in Gaza to the Palestinians, which is to be signed in the coming days.