Report: Mashaal, Abbas to Discuss Truce in Gaza

PA, Hamas leaders to meet over possible truce. But will the meeting change Hamas's commitment to escalation?

AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 11:50 PM

Hamas's Mashaal with Mahmoud Abbas
Hamas's Mashaal with Mahmoud Abbas
Flash 90

Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas "political leader" Khaled Mashaal will meet in Qatar Sunday to discuss a truce in Gaza, day 13 of Israel's self-defense operation, an official said.

The official close to Abbas, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said: "The president will meet Mashaal to discuss ways of reaching a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip."

Hamas categorically rejected attempts for a cease-fire in multiple statements, insisting that the terms of the agreement 'did not apply' to them.

Later, Hamas officials reportedly set a series of unprecedented demands on Israel to accompany a ten-year truce - before threatening Israelis if the government refused to accept. 

Mashaal, as well as Hamas, have openly encouraged escalation this week, declaring that Israel is "doomed to fail." 

And on Thursday, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza stated that "Israel will pay a high price" for launching the ground operation and that Hamas "is ready for the confrontation."

"With this action the Israeli government seeks to restore the morale of its soldiers and the morale of its army leadership - a leadership that is collapsing because of the qualitative blows of the resistance,” the spokesman, Fawzi Barhoum, claimed.

Abbas, on the other hand, has encouraged Hamas to accept internationally-brokered ceasefire efforts on multiple occasions over the weekend, traveling to Turkey specifically for this task - if not in the name of Palestinian Arab unity, then at least specifically to hurt Israel

"Israel accepted the ceasefire proposal. We (the Palestinians) must also accept it so that we can put the Israeli side at unease," Abbas told a news conference with Turkish President Abdullah Gul in Istanbul in comments translated from Arabic into Turkish.