Hamas Won't Commit to Ending Rocket Fire
Senior PLO official Nabil Shaath said on Sunday that there is full coordination between Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal regarding the negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza.
Speaking with the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, Shaath said that he met with Mashaal and his deputy, Moussa Abu Marzouk, who filled him in on the Egyptian-mediated negotiations taking place between the Gaza-based terror groups and an Israeli envoy in Cairo.
Shaath said that Mashaal told him that while the negotiations had entered a serious stage, he believed that a ceasefire is unlikely in the near future as the terror organizations are refusing to accept Israel’s conditions for a ceasefire.
Mashaal reportedly said that Israel is setting a condition that Hamas cannot accept, and that is that the terror group commit to stop firing rockets at Israel and refrain from attacking civilians.
At the same time, Shaath told Ma’an, Hamas is conditioning the ceasefire on Israel completely removing the naval blockade on the region, as well on the Jewish State avoiding military entry into Gaza and stopping to carry out targeted killings of terrorists.
It is unlikely that Israel will agree to any of the Hamas-imposed conditions.
Earlier on Sunday, a Hamas spokesman quoted on Channel 2 said that Israel has sent a representative to Cairo for mediated talks with Hamas regarding the possibility of a ceasefire but that these talks have failed.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday that Israel was prepared to discuss ideas to ensure the security of the region – but only after Hamas and other Gaza terror groups commit to a complete end of all rocket attacks on Israel, now and in the future. Until it is clear that the rocket threat against Israel has ended, there could be no discussion of a cease-fire or any other arrangement, he said, following a meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius.
“We appreciate the efforts of France to prevent residents of the region from falling victim to war and to help both sides reach a long-term arrangement that will include an end to the terror imposed on Israelis citizens,” Lieberman said.
However, he added, “neither Israel nor any other country can accept a situation where a million people are unable to live normal lives, not going to work or to school, having to manage their lives according to the alerts of incoming missiles.
“We appreciate all of the recommendations provided by our friends,” Lieberman added, “but the first condition must be an absolute end to the rocket attacks on Israel by Gaza Arab terrorists. As soon as the attacks end, we will be happy to discuss any plans.”