Israel arrests Islamic Jihad activists near Hebron; Egypt invites Palestinian factions to landmark talks in Cairo
Israeli soldiers operating in the West Bank village of Dura, on the outskirts of Hebron, arrested three members of Islamic Jihad on Sunday.
According to Israeli press reports, the three are members of the cell responsible for the attack on the West Bank settlement of Otniel on Friday night, in which four Israelis were killed.
Meanwhile, Egypt has invited leading Palestinian factions to convene landmark talks and forge a unified stand on sensitive issues such as a halt to suicide bombings in Israel, an Egyptian government source said Sunday.
"Egypt has invited Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) to try to minimize differences and agree on one, unified stance," the official told Reuters.
The Egyptian official said the talks would address issues like borders for a future Palestinian state, refugees and a halt to suicide bombings within Israel, not "continued resistance inside occupied land." No date has been set for the talks.
Palestinian officials confirmed a Fatah team led by Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) would attend the meeting. One senior Palestinian official said Egypt was working on "formulating an initiative or a paper calling for the cessation of all military actions on both sides."
Palestinian Planning Minister Nabil Shaath said Sunday that Egypt would convene all Palestinian factions for a meeting in Cairo in the first week of January to try to work out a joint political platform.
According to media reports, Egypt's draft of the agreement drawn up between Hamas and Fatah during talks last week in Cairo, includes an assent by Hamas to a cease fire in attacks against Israel, but only if the Israeli army pulls back to its September 2000 positions.
The draft also puts another condition to the cease-fire, which is granting freedom of movement to Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat. (Albawaba.com)
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