Mideast peace talks yield little

Palestinian factions meeting on Monday in the occupied Gaza Strip with a high-level Egyptian delegation said there was no breakthrough on ceasefire proposals.

    Palestinian delegates reiterated
    the right to resist occupation

    A group of high-ranking Egyptian officials headed by senior intelligence official General Mustafa Buheeri, arrived in the occupied Gaza Strip on Sunday to broker a truce between Palestinians and Israelis after one of the bloodiest weeks of the intifada or uprising.

    “In the meeting there was no ceasefire proposal but only ideas within the framework of the Palestinian dialogue to confirm the right to resist occupation," said Mohammad al-Hindi, a senior leader of the Islamic Jihad movement.

    Palestinian foreign minister, Nabil Shaath, had said earlier 
    that a "total ceasefire" could be announced as early as
    Tuesday.

    Folllowing the meeting with 13 Palestinian factions, Hamas and Islamic Jihad reiterated their willingness to end resistance attacks inside Israel if the latter ended its policy of targeted killilngs and incursions.

    "It has always been our position and that of Hamas to keep
    civilians out of the war if Israel stops its incursions and
    assassinations," said al-Hindi.

    Fatah leader Ahmad Hellis, said they also dicussed ending some forms of resistance if Israel halted its assassinations and released political prisoners.

    Palestinian Prime Minister, Mahmoud Abbas, is expected in the occupied Gaza Strip later on Monday to iron out differences which had emerged, following his vow to crack down on the armed resistance against Israel’s occupation at the Aqaba summit in Jordan.

    Israeli Defiance

    But Israel ruled out suggestions proposed by Palestinian sources of a ceasefire that would last three days and then be renewed on a daily basis.

    A senior Palestinian source said last week Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had said he would stop targeted killings in exchange for an agreement by Hamas to end resistance attacks.

    After an initial three days the truce would be renewed on a daily basis while the two sides discuss plans for a comprehensive ceasefire, said the source.

    But Sharon on Sunday torpedoed that proposal when he reiterated Israel would continue targeted killings against “human bombs”.

    Senior US diplomat John Wolf, who is heading a 12-member team to monitor the implementation of the US-backed “road map”, is due on Monday to meet with officials from both sides.


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