Hamas leaders are exerting pressure on the Islamic Jihad organization to agree to a truce that would end the current round of fighting with Israel, Palestinian sources said on Sunday.
Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations have in the past 24 hours stepped up their efforts to reach a truce in the Gaza Strip, the sources said.
Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said that “around the clock” efforts were being made to “protect our people and stop the [Israeli] aggression.”
Haniyeh contacted Egyptian, Qatari and UN mediators as part of the efforts to achieve a ceasefire.
The Palestinian Quds Network website quoted unnamed sources in the Gaza Strip as saying that Islamic Jihad has rejected a proposal for a truce with Israel.
According to the sources, Islamic Jihad has refused to reply to calls from the Egyptians to discuss a truce proposal.
The sources claimed that the mediators have proposed a “humanitarian truce” as part of the ongoing attempts to end the fighting. However, the killing of senior Islamic Jihad military commander Khaled Mansour on Saturday night aborted these efforts, the sources added.
Earlier, senior Islamic Jihad official Mohammed al-Hindi said that contacts have been made with the mediators, especially Egypt and the UN, to discuss the prospects of reaching a truce.
Abu Hamza, spokesperson for the armed wing of Islamic Jihad, Al-Quds Brigades, said on the third day of the fighting that his group has still not used all its rocket capabilities. He said that Islamic Jihad was still capable of inflicting pain on Israel. He also called on all Palestinians in the West Bank and the Arab Israelis to join the fight against Israel by launching a “massive uprising” to drive the “enemy from all of Palestine.”
The Palestinian Authority, for its part, said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas was pursuing his efforts with regional and international parties to “stop the Israeli escalation targeting the Palestinian people and their Islamic and Christian holy sites.
PA Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh called on the UN Security Council to “assume its responsibilities to end the aggression.” He urged the US administration and the international community to intervene to stop the fighting “before it’s too late.”
PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said during a press conference in Ramallah that Abbas has instructed the Palestinian envoy to the UN to request a special session of the Security Council to stop the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Shtayyeh called on the Security Council to issue a resolution calling for providing protection for the Palestinian people. “We want more than a condemnation from the council,” he said. “This is the third day of the Israeli aggression on our people in the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the martyrdom of 31 people and hundreds of injuries, as well as a lot of destruction.”
Shtayyeh criticized visits by Jews to the Temple Mount and Israeli military “incursions” into Jenin Refugee Camp and said that these “crimes will be added to the files submitted to the International Criminal Court.”