Hamas to Present Terms of Cease-fire With Israel

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Hamas chief Khaled Meshal, left, and Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Credit: Reuters

Hamas will present its terms for a cease-fire with Israel on Thursday, a Palestinian source close to the organization has said.

The position paper of the militant factions includes five central points: An opening of all crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip; opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt for 24 hours, with international guarantee it will not be closed; naval access in Gaza; permission for Gaza residents to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem; release of the prisoners freed in the Shalit swap and then rearrested; improved conditions for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

The Israeli delegation was in Cairo on Thursday morning for brief negotiations over the cease-fire. The Israel team is headed by Shin Bet Chief Yoram Cohen, and includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's envoy Isaac Molho and the head of the Defense Ministry's political-security department, Amos Gilad. The three will met with senior Egyptian intelligence officials in attempt to revive the Egyptian proposal that collapsed two days ago.

"The delegation's short visit came in response to the Egyptian initiative that includes holding talks in Cairo with top-level delegations from the Israeli government and the Palestinian factions to consolidate the proposed cease-fire and complete confidence-building measures," an Egyptian official said.

Quartet envoy Tony Blair and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi in Cairo on Wednesday. Abbas also met Hamas' representative Moussa Abu-Marzouk in Cairo and spoke on the telephone with the organization's political leader Khaled Meshal.

Abbas is to leave for Ankara for talks with Erdogan on Thursday.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Hamas' representative in Cairo Moussa Abu Marzouk, in the presence of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Arab League chief Nabil Al-Araby. Abbas, who supports the Egyptian initiative, is trying to push for an immediate cease-fire and deal negotiations over Hamas' terms following a halt in the hostilities, as Hamas demands international guarantee for any agreement with Israel. The two sides have still not consolidated a clear outline.

The Egyptians have still not expressed intentions to amend the proposal and senior official in Egypt emphasized that hesitation or appeals by the either sides would be brought up in deliberations immediately following the cease-fire. Hamas officially rejected the Egyptian proposal on Wednesday. The group's spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu-Zogari, said that Hamas' stance had been passed on to Cairo by official sources in the organization.

Islamic Jihad and the other militant faction rejected the proposal on Tuesday, saying it did not meet Palestinian demands.