Palestinian factions have agreed to extend an open-ended truce with Israel in exchange for a halt to Israeli attacks and the release of prisoners.
The Palestinian groups made the decision Thursday, following a meeting with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Cairo, Egypt. In a statement, the groups said continuation of the cease-fire depends on Israel's commitment to halt all assaults against Palestinians.
Mr. Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon declared a cease-fire at a February 8 summit meeting in Egypt. Mr. Abbas met with Palestinian militants in Cairo to persuade them to join the cease-fire.
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says Palestinians must disarm and dismantle the militant groups, in addition to agreeing to a cease-fire.
(IsraelNN.com) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon this evening said Arab terrorists have taken a "first positive step" by agreeing to a conditional extended calm. They told the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Egyptian officials the 13 terror groups would not announce a cease-fire but would extended a period of calm until the end of year. Israel must withdraw from Arab cities and towns and release all Arab prisoners during the same period of time, according to the announcement.
Sharon said he told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak by telephone that the next step must include an agreement by the terrorist groups to disarm and reject terror.
MIM: Note that in this Reuters article the terrorists are referred to as 'militant leaders' and who must be 'subdued' and are agreeing to keep "calm" as if suicide bombings and mortar attacks were merely 'annoyances' . Reuters then goes on to note that "the quiet was broken when an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed 5 people at a Tel Aviv nightclub". Evidently Reuters regards suicide bombings as a nuisance on a par with inadvertently triggered car alarms .
Israel demands Israel subdue militants despite deal
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel said on Thursday it expected Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas to dismantle militant groups despite his winning a commitment from militant groups to an open-ended halt of attacks.
Militant leaders agreed in talks with Abbas in Egypt on Thursday to extend a "calm" in place since February in exchange for a halt to Israeli army operations against them and a release of prisoners. They declined to give a time frame for their deal.
Israeli officials expressed concern militants could use the lull to rearm and demanded Abbas fulfil his obligation under an internationally-backed "road map" peace plan to disarm militant factions in the West Bank and Gaza.
"Israel sees the discussions in Cairo as problematic in that they only talk about a temporary time-out," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said.
"The road map is unequivocal -- Abbas must disarm the terrorist groups and we hope that the process of disarmament will start sooner rather than later."
Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon agreed a de facto truce at a February 8 summit in Egypt aimed at ending over four years of violence since a Palestinian uprising began after peace treaty talks deadlocked.
The quiet was broken on February 25 when an Islamic Jihad suicide bomber killed five Israelis at a Tel Aviv nightclub.
"We need to wait and see whether this (Cairo) declaration translates into real action on the ground that will bring about the dismantlement of the terror infrastructure and the cessation of terrorist activities," a senior Israeli official said.
Abbas had been attempting to coax militants into agreeing to a more formal ceasefire at the talks in Egypt.
MIM: One doesnt need the Xinhua net language pack to translate this story. Hamas makes impossible demands which Israel will obviously reject and then for good measure says they will attack them anyway since they reject "an everlasting truce". Either way, Hamas stands to gain and Khalid Meshal accusation of Israel of "dealing jokingly with the rights of our people"inadvertently shows that "our people" is in effect, a historical hoax .
GAZA, March 16 (Xinhuanet) -- The Islamic Resistance Movement(Hamas) announced Wednesday that the group will not accept an everlasting truce with Israel in view of the Israeli practices on the ground.
Khaled Meshaal, who heads the movement's delegation to the inter-Palestinian dialogue that began Tuesday in the Egyptian capital of Cairo, told Palestinian Radio "the atmosphere created by the Israeli policy is not encouraging to declare a long-term truce."
"The Israeli manner against the Palestinians is negative," Meshaal said.
"This negative manner means dealing jokingly with the rights of our people, including its opposition to release more prisoners and the continuation of arrests and assassinations," he added. Representatives of 13 Palestinian factions and political powers continued their dialogue in Cairo on Wednesday to sort out their differences over a broad ceasefire with Israel and to achieve a unified Palestinian front toward peace talks with the Jewish state. No truce deal has been reached so far.
Yaalon Warns of Dangers of New Terrorist "Ceasefire"
Friday, March 18, 2005
The Palestinian terrorists' agreement reached in Cairo yesterday is even less binding than a hudna, and can be violated at any time. IDF Chief of Staff Yaalon says it's downright dangerous.
Although the details of yesterday's agreement are not totally clear, it appears that 13 terrorist factions, including the three major terrorist organizations – Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad – have agreed to extend the present informal ceasefire until the end of the year. They refused to agree to anything resembling an official truce with Israel, however.
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that the agreement reached among the terrorist leaders in Cairo yesterday is an important first step. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) was happy with what he achieved in Cairo, calling the agreement "important and serious," and saying it will "give the peace process a chance to move forward."
Some say the agreement is downright dangerous for Israel, however. Hisham Abdel Rezak, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, said today that the agreed-upon arrangement is a "dahadiye," or somewhat less than a "hudna." A hudna is a ceasefire that remains in effect until one of the sides feels that it can defeat the other. Rezak said that the present arrangement is even less binding than that, and is really only a "calming" of the situation that will allow the sides, if they wish, to easily "get down from the ladder."
Hamas official Muhammed Nazzal said that even this limited agreement will expire at the end of the year if Israel does not meet its demands. These include the release of all terrorists, withdrawal from Arab-populated cities in Judea and Samaria, and an end to all military activities.
Outgoing IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon - who apparently feels less restricted in his speeches following what most see as his "firing" by Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz – said today that the "calming" agreement is nothing for Israel to get excited about. "Until Abu Mazen collects all the weapons, this conflict will not end," he told a Haifa audience today. "Camouflaged by [this agreement], the terrorists are arming, manufacturing explosives and shoring up their forces."
Ynet reports that at least one terrorist leader, Salah A-Din Brigades leader Abu Abir, refuses to be bound by even this limited agreement. "I say to the residents of Sderot that you better return to your shelters," Abir said, "because what is awaiting you – you have not yet seen the likes of it."
A top PA official told The Jerusalem Post that Abu Mazen invited the Damascus-based terrorist groups to move to Gaza Strip after Israel leaves – and that most of them had agreed to do so.
Arab Convicts To Strike, Terrorists Threaten Israel
Sunday, April 17, 2005
Israeli prison officials are boosting forces to contend with a widespread hunger strike by Arab convicts Sunday. Terror groups have also threatened attacks if Israel does not release terrorists.
Almost 500 prisoners in the Shikma prison in Ashkelon, north of Gaza, and in the HaSharon prison, north of Tel Aviv, said they will refuse to eat on Sunday in order to pressure Israel to release them.
Israel agreed two months ago to release 900 Arab prisoners, including convicted terrorists, as part of the Sharm al-Sheikh summit agreements earlier this year. The government freed about 500 prisoners but has refrained from releasing the remainder until the Palestinian Authority (PA) takes stronger action against terrorism. Israeli security forces recently arrested several freed terrorists who planned to attack Israelis despite their promises to refrain from terrorist activities as a condition of their release.
Thousands of supporters of the Islamic Jihad, Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and Hamas terror groups rallied Saturday in Gaza. Carrying weapons and grenades, they said they will kidnap Israeli soldiers and civilians in order to press for the release of prisoners. The Syrian-based secretary general of the Islamic Jihad addressed one of the rallies by telephone.
Hamas terrorists recently have escalated rhetoric in favor of renewing large-scale terrorist attacks.
"The lull for Hamas is a tactic of resistance," an Egyptian-based Hamas official recently told a conference in Cairo. He added that even if Hamas continues to increase its power in the PA, it will not give up violence unless Israel withdraws at least to its pre-1967 borders.
In a separate development, Israel is to release nine Jordanian prisoners Sunday but has refused Jordan's request to free others who were directly involved in attacking Israelis.