Hamas rejects ceasefire deal with Israel

Group opposed to Egyptian-moderated agreement on basis that it demands a Palestinian referendum.

hamas rally flags 289.88 (photo credit: AP)
hamas rally flags 289.88
(photo credit: AP)
Hamas has rejected an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement with Israel because it would mandate a referendum in order to ratify the deal, a spokesperson for the organization announced in Gaza late Sunday. "The idea to have a referendum is unacceptable because it is not possible to present the national principles in a referendum," Sami Abu Zuhr said, adding that the group was opposed to the Egyptian deal based on its current principles. Earlier in the weekend, the Egyptian foreign minister told Reuters that efforts towards a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas were making good progress. "Hamas wants to call it a period of quiet. That suits the Israelis because they do not want to reach a signed, written agreement with Hamas," Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said. The truce plan that Egypt was trying to broker had three elements, according to the Reuters report. The first was that Hamas stop firing missiles into Israel, and Israel agree not to target Palestinians in Gaza and cease "targeted killings, assassinations or what have you," said Gheit. Second, 400 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel would be swapped for captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. Allowing border crossings to be opened between Gaza and Israel was the third element, reported Reuters. "If the crossings were to open, then we would ensure that the flow of goods, of people, of material and of everything is allowed and the Palestinians in Gaza will not feel deprived as they are right now," said the Egyptian foreign minister. The Reuters report stated that these talks involved only Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Olmert - no Hamas representatives were present.