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Hamas shows first signs of willingness to accept truce
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH
11/18/2012
Mashaal demands an Israeli pledge to stop “all forms of aggression, including assassinations, and lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip.”
 
For the first time since the current round of violence with the Gaza Strip began on Wednesday, there were signs on Saturday that Hamas was willing to accept a cease-fire with Israel.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who is in Cairo, held talks on Saturday with Mohamed Shehata, head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Service, on the possibility of achieving a cease-fire, sources close to Hamas said.

The sources said that the Hamas leadership has received a number of proposals for a cease-fire from different international parties, including EU countries.

Mashaal, according to the sources, set his movement’s conditions for a cease-fire.

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These include an Israeli pledge to stop “all forms of aggression, including assassinations, and lifting the blockade on the Gaza Strip.”

Mashaal also demanded international “assurances” that Israel would abide by the terms of a cease-fire, the sources added.

The talk about a new cease-fire came as the Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry in Ramallah announced that Arab League Secretary- General Nabil Elarabi would visit the Gaza Strip soon to discuss ways of ending the violence.

Elarabi will be accompanied by PA Foreign Minister Riad Malki, as well as the foreign ministers of Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria.

Over the weekend, the Egyptian prime minister and the Tunisian foreign minister separately visited the Strip to express solidarity with the Palestinians against the IDF offensive.

Ramadan Shallah, leader of Islamic Jihad organization, also arrived in Cairo over the weekend for talks with Egyptian and Arab government officials on the possibility of reaching a cease-fire with Israel.

An Islamic Jihad official said efforts were underway to arrange a cease-fire between the Palestinian groups and Israel “within the next 24 hours.”
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