The Palestinian militant group Hamas is to give its response Thursday to a proposed truce with Israel mediated by Egypt as other factions insist on a mutual ceasefire, according to Palestinian sources.
A Hamas delegation led by Mahmoud Zahar is expected to present the group's response in a meeting with Egypt's intelligence chief, General Omar Sulayman, Thursday evening in Cairo, the dpa reported.
Hamas is widely expected to accept a proposed truce with Israel, which would take effect only in the Gaza Strip, thus dropping a demand that the ceasefire be extended to the West Bank as well, according to Palestinian sources close to the group.
Hamas has previously rejected a unilateral truce, saying Israel should halt its operations in the Gaza Strip concurrently with any ceasefire by Palestinian factions.
A Hamas lawmaker, Mushir al-Masri, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that the proposal to start a ceasefire in Gaza first could not take effect unless it was accepted by all Palestinian factions.
"We have been trying very hard to negotiate a comprehensive truce and a de-escalation of the situation in all Palestinian land," al- Masri said.
The lawmaker's comments reflect the view held by the group's hard- line wing.
A spokesman for the popular resistance committees, Abu-Mujahid, told dpa that there was a Palestinian consensus about a mutual, comprehensive ceasefire rather than one limited to the Gaza Strip.
Abu-Mujahid said any truce should be accompanied by an end to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip, a halt to all military operations and the opening of the border crossings.
Israel's army regularly carries out incursions and airstrikes in Gaza, which Hamas has controlled since June 2007, in retaliation for rocket attacks launched from there.
Israel must declare a truce concurrently with any ceasefire by Palestinian factions, Abu-Mujahid said.
"We can not accept a truce while Israeli rockets are falling on us," Abu-Mujahid said.
Egyptian officials have proposed a meeting of all Palestinian factions in Cairo where truce proposals would be discussed, Abu- Mujahid added.