Islamic Jihad denies negotiations with Palestinian PM about new truce
The Islamic Jihad movement denied that it is in negotiations with the Palestinian government over a new truce, contrary to what the Palestinian PM Ahmad Qurei, known as Abu Ala, had previously announced. Meanwhile, Hamas reiterated that it will also not be concerning itself with such negotiations.
Qurei affirmed that reaching a cease-fire agreement (hudna) with Israel is still one of his top priorities as negotiations between his government and the various Palestinian factions - including Hamas and Islamic Jihad – are underway.
However, the Islamic Jihad denied any such negotiations despite it announcing it had no objection on meeting Qurei.
“My movement has not received any official request from the Palestinian government to negotiate a truce, but we have no objection to meeting with Abu Ala. This has been our policy all along, for the purpose of strengthening the internal dialogue amongst Palestinians,” Islamic Jihad leader, Nafeth Azzam told Al Bawaba via telephone.
Azzam renewed his movement’s previous demands regarding any negotiations over a truce, which he says should be preceded with a halt of Israel’s aggression against the Palestinians.
“We have previously said and we reiterate again that the suffering of our people is due to the occupation and Israel’s escalation of its aggression against us… consequently the aggression should stop before any discussions over a truce are rekindled,” said Azzam.
It should be noted that the truce, which the Islamic resistance factions announced unilaterally on June 29, 2003, collapsed some weeks later due to the assassination of a prominent Hamas leader - Ismael Abu Shanab – in last August by Israel.
On another note, the right-wing Israeli government led by PM Ariel Sharon ruled out any cease-fire with the Palestinians, and demanded the dismantling of the infrastructure of what it described as ‘Palestinian terrorist groups’.
On Monday, a Hamas official said that Qurei had sent a message to his movement requesting a meeting with its leaders in an attempt to reach a new truce.
In a release published by the Palestinian Media Center, which has close media ties to Hamas, Ismael Haneyyeh said that Qurei had recently sent a message to Hamas showing willingness to hold a meeting with the movement’s leaders.
He also added that the meeting between the two sides is expected to be convened shortly after the Palestinian PM returns from his visit to Egypt.
The Israeli daily Ha’aretz had recently reported that Egypt is currently helping to negotiate a new truce between the Palestinian factions and Israel.
Hamas leader Abdel Aziz al Rantisi was also quoted Monday denying the reports about the movement’s acceptance of Qurei’s request for a new truce with Israel.