Islamic Jihad Weighing Long-Term Ceasefire Without Truce
Almost in parallel of Economics Minister Naftali Bennett's (Jewish Home) plan to unilaterally end the Gaza operation without a truce agreement with Hamas, a senior member of the Islamic Jihad said his group is also considering a long-term ceasefire, even without a deal.
The senior Islamic Jihad terrorist, Halad al-Batash, said Thursday night that his organization may put down their arms for now and accept a long-term ceasefire even in the absence of a truce deal with Israel, reports Walla!.
In the interview with Al Mayadeen, al-Batash stated "we decided not to sign on an agreement that would be bad for the Palestinians. If our demands are not answered, we will examine the possibility of a long-term ceasefire, so as to defend the sons of our nation."
Al-Batash revealed that Israel offered to concede to the demand for a sea and airport in Gaza in return for the demilitarization of the terror enclave, an offer which was refused.
Likewise, "any demand to leave any periphery area - even of one meter" was rejected according to al-Batash, referring to the no-entry area on the Gaza side of the border instituted to prevent terrorist infiltration. According to reports in the Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency of an Israeli proposal, the Jewish state agreed to gradually cancel the periphery area.
If needed, Islamic Jihad is ready for a long war of attrition against Israel according to al-Batash.
However, in contrast to his appraisal, Islamic Jihad second-in-command Ziad Nahala said Friday that the war with Israel "is behind us," adding "we have no choice but to reach a truce agreement."
"The great destruction caused by the war obligates us to leave this (war) status," said Nahala, who added that the Gaza terror groups would get to keep their weapons in a proposed agreement, claiming "our achievements from the war are acceptable to the Palestinian people."
Whether Hamas is thinking along the same lines as Islamic Jihad remains unclear.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon on Thursday assessed that the Palestinian Arab delegation "is a delegation with five heads, which includes the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and various Hamas factions."