The Palestinian Authority offered on Wednesday a full truce with Israel if it supports the end of the international aid boycott imposed on the Palestinians since Hamas won the legislative elections in January 2006. Israel responded cautiously to the offer.
An Israeli online daily reported that its corespondent spoke with a senior Hamas official who said that if Israel agrees to persuade the international community to lift the siege and the boycott on the government, Hamas and Fateh would vow a full ceasefire, including a halt of the firing of homemade shells into Israel and the suicide bombings.
Miri Eisen, spokeswoman of the Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, said that Israel needs to see the actual implementation of the ceasefire, before considering an extension to it.
Eisen added that Israel refrained from responding to the homemade shells fired from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad movement which refused to sign the November truce deal declared by the Palestinian factions, and carried out a suicide bombing in Israel in January, said that it opposes the idea.
Khalid Al Batsh, one of the senior leaders of the Islamic Jihad, said that the group cannot talk about calm while Israel continues its aggression against the Palestinians in the West Bank, and against leaders of the Islamic Jihad and its armed wing.
Since January, Israeli soldiers killed three Islamic Jihad fighters in the occupied West Bank. The movement vowed to avenge the killings.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, said that he intends to deliver the truce offer to Olmert during their upcoming meeting scheduled for Sunday although senior Palestinian sources said that the date had not been finalized yet..
The report added that Olmert plans to use his meeting with Abbas in order to ensure that the new Palestinian government, currently being formed, would accept the conditions of the Quartet; recognize Israel, accept the past agreements, and renounce violence.
Israel launched an international campaign in an attempt to convince the Quartet's four member (US, UN, Russia and the EU) to continue the boycott against the Palestinian government until it meets the conditions set by the Quartet.
Meanwhile, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's external relations commissioner, slammed Israel over its practices in the Palestinian territories.
During her last week meting with the Israeli opposition leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ferrero-Waldner said that “Israel is not giving hope to the Palestinians”.