Palestinian factions argue about ceasefire

Israel Materials 28 June 2008 14:17 (UTC +04:00)

Palestinian factions argued Saturday they had the right to respond to Israeli violations of an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire which took hold in the Gaza Strip nine days ago, dpa reported.

The argument intensified after Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, criticized two other groups for firing rockets into Israel in defiance of the ceasefire.

The small armed Islamic Jihad and another group claiming to be affiliated with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement fired the rockets on three occasions in recent days to retaliate for an Israeli military action in the West Bank.

The West Bank has not been included in the ceasefire.

Khaled al-Batsh, a senior Islamic Jihad leader, said that "the Israeli occupation violates the lull on a daily basis" and so his movement "reserves the right to retaliate for all Israeli crimes regardless where they take place."

Referring to Hamas demands that the factions should consult it before acting, al-Batsh said there were Israeli violations that "require immediate retaliation" without coordinating with Hamas.

The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a group that supports Hamas, said the factions should act "through a national consensus."

According to the ceasefire deal, Israel has to open commercial crossing points into Gaza within the first 10 days of the six-month deal.

The rocket attacks, which violated the deal, prompted Israel to keep the crossings closed.