Sunday, January 18, 2009

Palestinian factions in Gaza agree to ceasefire with conditions

This is what is being reported by Maan News Agency, Hamas, Islamic Jihad set terms for mutual ceasefire, demand Israeli withdrawal from Gaza:

In a joint statement declared “We the Palestinian resistant factions, announce a ceasefire from our side in Gaza Strip. We confirm our stance and our demand for Israeli troops to withdraw from Gaza in a week, that Israel opens the borders, and crossing points for humanitarian aid convoys.”

The statement highlighted the factions’ readiness to respond to the Egyptian, Turkish, Syrian, and Qatari plans to for a permanent lifting of the siege, and opening of Gaza’s borders.

Hamas spokesperson Ayman Taha spoke out in favor of the decision, saying the party supported the initiative and also the decision to implement a boycott of Israel reached in the Doha Summit.

For Islamic Jihad spokesperson Daoud Shehab said the decision was based on consideration for the “common national interest” of the parties involved in the war, and to allow humanitarian aid convoys to enter Gaza.

Shehab told Ma’an, “The resistance won on the ground and now we will go onto the political battle.”

He explained that the decision is a natural extension of the role of resistance factions, and sought to establish the rights of Palestinians through the withdrawal of troops and the opening of borders.

When asked what will happen if Israel does not evacuate the Strip by Sunday 25 January, Shehab replied, “Then all options are open and no one would dare talk or hold us accountable because our decision isn’t out of weakness but out of common interest.”

The sole holdout in the truce agreement is reportedly the secular leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which rejected a ceasefire had even begun.

In an interview with Qatar’s Al-Jazeera, PFLP Politburo member Maher At-Taher insisted that “the Israeli attack is continuing.”

This is a bit different than is being reported in the US Media, CNN as an example is giving the impression that all of the factions have agreed, which it is clear one has not:

The agreement appears to cover all Palestinian armed factions, not only Hamas.

"We in the Palestinian resistance movements announce a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip," Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official in Syria, said on Syrian TV. "And we demand that Israeli forces withdraw in one week and that they open all the border crossings to permit the entry of humanitarian aid and basic goods for our people in Gaza."

There is no mutual agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians -- each side has made its own unilateral declaration of a cease-fire.

I think that's important to point out since any action taken by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) could be blamed on Hamas or others.

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