Palestinian factions deny Israel DM reports on agreement to about one month of truce
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has reached a deal with leading Palestinian groups for a cease-fire of about a month, Israel's Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Sunday morning.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad had agreed to the truce in return for a future role in the Palestinian Authority, Mofaz told Israel Public Radio in an interview. "As far as we understand, there is an agreement between (Abbas) and the heads of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for a cease-fire for a certain period ... about a month," stated Mofaz.
Abbas has been holding cease-fire talks with Palestinian factions in Gaza for the last few days.
According to Mofaz, Israel had made no promises but that the Israeli army would curtail its activities if there was a halt to Palestinian attacks. "As long as there is quiet there is no reason for us to act," he said.
Meanwhile, later in the day, there were conflicting reports with regards to Hamas' response to the Israeli Defense Minister's remarks.
One Hamas official denied an Israeli account the organization had agreed to a cease-fire but said they could accept a "period of calm" if Israel halt all attacks first.
"What Mofaz said was incorrect," Hamas' Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters. "We reiterated that the movement has expressed its readiness to study the issue of calm seriously but there will be no calm without a price and a calm will not be accepted unless there is a clear commitment from the occupation to stop all sorts of aggression."
However, another top Hamas official, requesting anonymity, confirmed that the group had indeed agreed to a test period of 30 days. If Israel does not carry out military operations during this period, Hamas will consider an open-ended cease-fire, the official stated.
Meanwhile, an Abbas aide declined to comment specifically on Mofaz's account. "The president (Abbas) has held more talks with the brothers in Hamas ... The meeting was friendly and positive. All issues were discussed including a cease-fire that will serve the highest interests of the Palestinian people," he told the news agency.