Rassegna Stampa Elezioni Israeliane 2009

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Hamas declares ceasefire, gives IDF one week to withdraw

Posted by Andrea Pompozzi su 18 gennaio, 2009

Jan. 18, 2009
Khaled Abu Toameh, jpost.com staff and ap , THE JERUSALEM POST

Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal announced on Syrian television on Sunday afternoon that the Islamic group would implement a cease-fire in which they would halt all military activity and give IDF troops one week to pull out of the Gaza Strip.

According to the statement, Israel must end the blockade and open the border crossings. It did not elaborate.

A leader of the Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip said that his group agreed to the Hamas truce, adding that other smaller Palestinian factions have signed on, as well.

The development comes after Israel declared a unilateral cease-fire which took effect earlier Sunday morning.

While Israel declared it would halt all military activity, it said it would maintain its presence in Gaza until it was clear Palestinian groups in Gaza honor the calm.

In addition, Israel said it would not open any border crossings until all hostilities have ceased.

Shortly after the Hamas declaration, the spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s Office reaffirmed Israel’s position and expressed hope that the calm would be maintained for the long-term.

“If in fact we see a cessation of Hamas activity towards Israel, then we could see a long-term ceasefire,” Mark Regev told Sky News.

He added that Israel “clearly does not want to” stay in Gaza, and that Israel would do everything it could to maintain the calm.

On Saturday, Hamas said it would continue to fight despite Israel’s decision unilaterally end the offensive.

However, defiant statements issued by a number of Hamas representatives were countered by sources close to the movement which said the group would honor the cease-fire.

“Hamas needs the lull,” the sources said. “They have been hit hard and they have no choice but to comply.”

Hamas representatives said they would resist any attempt by Israel or other parties to confiscate its weapons. They also warned against allowing forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to return to the Strip.

“We will continue the resistance operations for as long as there is one Zionist soldier in the Gaza Strip,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said. “We will continue regardless of the price.”

Fawzi said Hamas’s conditions for accepting a cease-fire included a halt to the IDF operation, the reopening of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip and the lifting of the blockade.

The Hamas spokesman said that the decision to declare a unilateral cease-fire showed that the war was also a unilateral move on the part of Israel against the Palestinians.

“This war had nothing to do with the rockets or the presence of Hamas in the Gaza Strip,” he said. “This war against children, women and the elderly was part of the upcoming Israeli election campaign.”

Hamas also voiced opposition to the US-Israeli agreement to stop the smuggling of weapons under the border between Gaza and Egypt.

“This agreement is aimed at tightening the siege around the Gaza Strip and establishing a new base for spying on the Palestinians and Egypt.”




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