Palestinians return home after
Israel withdrew from part of Gaza

In Jordan, Foreign Minister Marwan Moasher praised the Palestinian factions which announced on Sunday a three-month halt to resistance attacks against Israel, saying their “unity…will reflect on the political process, increase Palestinian negotiating power and bolster Palestinian national interest”.

Moasher welcomed Israel’s partial pullout from the occupied Gaza Strip as an “important step” to implementing the “road map” aimed at ending the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

In Egypt, state-run al-Akhbar newspaper said a truce will be an embarrassment for Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as it deprives him of a pretext to use military force.

“The early days after the implementation of the truce accord will be very hard on Israel as it has been used to carrying out aggressions and repressions since its foundation,” it wrote in an editorial.

Palestinian groups Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat’s Fatah group announced a halt in anti-occupation attacks.

'Comprehensive peace'

Israeli tanks began pulling out
of Gaza late on Sunday

Qatar’s foreign ministry issued a statement praising the truce and calling on Israel “to comply fully with the provisions of the road map in order to clear the way for peace with the Palestinians”.

Qatar, according to a ministry spokesman also helped broker the truce. Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Jabr al-Thani told Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, in a telephone call on Sunday night, of his “hopes that a just and comprehensive peace will be achieved in the region as quickly as possible” .

The official English-language Syria Times said on Monday that “the provisions agreed upon by the Palestinian resistance factions…could be considered one step forward on the road to a peaceful solution if Israel abided by them”.

Syrian Foreign Minister Farouq al-Sharaa said at a press conference that Damascus supports “any true peace and blesses any agreement among the Palestinians which bolsters their unity”.

But Sharaa said the US-backed blueprint “marginalized” efforts to secure peace between Israel and Syria and Lebanon.