In the first meeting of its kind since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas held talks in Cairo with senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk on Wednesday.

The meeting was held shortly after Abbas arrived in Egypt for talks with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on ways of ending the fighting.

Abbas is also expected to visit Turkey in the context of his efforts to seek an end to the operation.

The meeting between Abbas and Marzouk came shortly after Hamas notified the Egyptians of its rejection of their cease-fire proposal, which called for an end to the fighting as of Tuesday morning.

PA officials said that Abbas has also been holding consultations by phone with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal, who is based in Qatar, in a bid to persuade him to accept the Egyptian plan.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that his movement rejected the cease-fire proposal because it does not meet the conditions of the Palestinian “resistance” groups in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Zuhri called on the Egyptian government to reopen the Rafah border crossing and expressed deep disappointment with Arab indifference toward the operation in the Gaza Strip.

“The Arabs should send a message that they are with the Gaza Strip and not the occupation,” he said. “There are no real Arab moves in favor of the Gaza Strip.”

Abu Zuhri said that Israeli threats to launch a ground offensive in the Gaza Strip “do not scare the Palestinian people and Hamas.”

He called on Abbas to “endorse the Palestinian position and respect the resistance.”

Abu Zuhri claimed that most statements emanating from the PA “provide a cover for the crimes of the occupation.”

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger