Hamas agrees on conditions for truce with Israel - paper
22/04/2008 15:18

CAIRO, April 22 (RIA Novosti) - Egyptian mediators have brokered a preliminary agreement with radical Palestinian movement Hamas on conditions for a ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip, a national newspaper said on Tuesday.

The Al-Ahram newspaper said, citing sources in the administration of the Egyptian president, that Omar Suleiman, the chief of Egyptian intelligence, would soon travel to Israel to relay the details of the agreement to the Israeli leadership.

In return to halting rocket barrages at bordering Israeli towns, Hamas wants Israel and Egypt to open their borders with Gaza for goods and people.

Israel and Egypt restricted movement of people and supplies in and out of Gaza after Hamas won the 2006 Palestinian general elections, and further tightened the blockade after the radical group seized Gaza from President Abbas' Fatah in June, leaving the Palestinian leader in control of the West Bank.

Last November's U.S.-hosted Mideast summit saw a resumption in talks between the Palestinian National Authority and Israel after a seven-year hiatus. The sides pledged to do everything possible to draft a peace settlement by the end of 2008, as well as to come to an agreement on the form of a future independent Palestinian state.

However, the talks came to a halt last month following a devastating Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, which killed 120 Palestinians, mostly civilians.

Last Thursday saw another surge in violence in Gaza with Israeli military strikes killing at least 20 Palestinians, mostly civilians, while three Israeli soldiers were killed in a Hamas ambush. Hostilities continued through Monday.

Ex-U.S. president Jimmy Carter, who was on a peacemaking tour of the Middle East over the weekend, said on Monday after a meeting with the Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal that the movement was ready to live in peace with Israel if an agreement was supported by a Palestinian referendum.

However, Hamas rejected his proposal to halt rocket attacks on Israel for a month without any preconditions and said there would be no truce with Israel until Tel Aviv lifts its economic blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak confirmed in an interview with the Egyptian media that the preparation for a Middle East summit in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh in May was currently under way.

He said, though, that the event would only be effective if it was attended by Israeli

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, U.S. President George W. Bush and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.


Original article: RIA Novosti
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