Hamas and Islamic Jihad stated Tuesday that they were never consulted over the terms of a proposed truce with Israel that was drafted by Egypt. The Israeli prime minister stated that if Hamas does not accept the ceasefire proposal, it will be legitimate for Israel to broaden its military operation against the Gaza Strip.
‘To avoid confusion and to be clear with our people, al-Qassam Brigades confirm that we haven’t been contacted by any official or unofficial entities about terms of this alleged initiative,’ said the Azz a Din al Qassam brigades in a statement.
‘If what has been circulated is true, this initiative means kneeling and submissiveness and so we
completely refuse it and to us, it’s not worth the ink used in writing it,’ the military organization added.
Senior Islamic Jihad official Khalid al-Batsh welcomed Egypt’s role, but said that there was only contact between Egypt and Israel. He stressed the Islamic Jihad was never consulted.
‘Initiatives shouldn’t be proposed through media outlets, but rather through the obvious channels, which are resistance factions and their leaders”, al-Batsh stated.
Deputy secretary-general of the group, Ziad al-Nakhalah, said late Monday that there couldn’t be a ceasefire agreement without guarantees to end Israeli aggression and the blockade on Gaza.
‘We are open to any initiative, but rocket fire won’t stop unless a real and appropriate agreement is reached,’ he added.
Israel’s security cabinet on Tuesday accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, a government spokesman said, after a week of deadly bombings on Gaza which killed over 180 Palestinians.
‘The cabinet has decided to accept the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire starting 9am today,’ Ofir Gendelman, spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Twitter.
‘We agreed to the Egyptian proposal in order to give an opportunity for the demilitarization of the (Gaza) Strip – from missiles, from rockets and from tunnels – through diplomatic means,’ he told reporters during an earlier press conference with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
The Prime Minister added, ‘but if Hamas does not accept the ceasefire proposal, as would now seem to be the case, Israel would have all international legitimacy to broaden the military operation to achieve the required quiet.’
See: Egypt Claims to Have Brokered Ceasefire Agreement; Palestinian Factions Say They Were Not Consulted