Hamas, Islamic Jihad 'ready for 24h truce' - PLO

2014-07-29 16:28
A Palestinian man reacts as flames engulf the fuel tanks of the only power plant supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip after it was hit by overnight Israeli shelling. (Mahmud Hams, AFP)

A Palestinian man reacts as flames engulf the fuel tanks of the only power plant supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip after it was hit by overnight Israeli shelling. (Mahmud Hams, AFP)

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Ramallah - The Palestinian leadership, along with Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are willing to observe a 24-hour ceasefire in the war-torn Gaza Strip, a senior PLO official said on Tuesday.

"After extensive calls and consultations with the brothers in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian leadership announces on behalf of everyone the willingness for a ceasefire and humanitarian truce for 24 hours," said Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation.

"We call on all Arab and international parties to support this ... and hold Israel fully responsible for the consequences of refusing it," he said, reading out a statement.

The fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants raged on unabated on Tuesday with scores more Palestinians killed as the death toll in Gaza rose to well over 1 100, most of them civilians.

On the Israeli side, 56 people have been killed, most of them soldiers.

Possibility to extend truce

The Palestinian leadership was also considering "positively" a UN call for a 72-hour halt to the fighting, he said.

"There is also a suggestion from the United Nations to extend this truce for 72 hours and we are dealing positively with this suggestion," Abed Rabbo said.

An earlier UN call for an extended ceasefire on Saturday was accepted by Israel but snubbed by Hamas, although it belatedly declared its willingness to halt its fire in a move which never got off the ground.

Abed Rabbo also said a senior Palestinian delegation led by Abbas and including representatives of all the factions would travel to Egypt for talks on ending the conflict.

"The Palestinian leadership decided that a unified Palestinian delegation will go to Cairo to look into everything regarding the next step," he said.

The announcement confirmed remarks to AFP by a senior Palestinian official, in which he said Abbas would visit Cairo with Hamas and Jihad representatives for fresh talks with the Egyptians on ending 22 days of violence in and around Gaza.

He did not say when the visit would take place.

Abed Rabbo also said the Palestinian leadership had "started procedures to internationally prosecute the Israeli government as murderers" in a likely reference to steps to hold Israel accountable through the international justice system.

Read more on:    un  |  plo  |  hamas  |  mahmoud abbas  |  egypt  |  palestine  |  israel  |  peace  |  gaza  |  middle east
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