Hamas leader urges Israel accept ceasefire or face more resistance
A senior Hamas leader on Monday urged Israel to accept an Egyptian offer for ceasefire to avoid more escalation in resistance, reported Xinhua.
Israel "has a chance for calmness; if they accept it, it will be fine." Mahmoud Zahar, former Hamas foreign affairs minister, told a news conference in Gaza.
"If they do not accept it, they have to know and to expect that the Palestinian people will not stop their resistance and will keep it on until achieving their goals," Zahar added.
The Palestinian factions, led by Hamas, accepted the Egyptian initiative which aims at calming down the situation in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suliman arrived on Monday in Israel and held talks with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Hewill also meet Premier Ehud Olmert. According to Zahar, Suliman will present Israel's response to the Palestinian factions on Tuesday morning.
"Our stance will depend on the Israeli one... we will not be hasty and we hope to stop the aggression and break the siege," Zahar said.
Nearly one year ago, Hamas routed security forces of President Mahmoud Abbas and took over Gaza Strip. Israel then tightened the closure on Gaza and escalated military attacks.
Meanwhile, the Islamic Jihad movement, the second militant group after Hamas, expected that Israel will agree to the ceasefire deal "but after trying to extort the Palestinians."
"The occupation seeks the lull but they want it with lower prices," said Khaled al-Batsh, an Islamic Jihad leader in Gaza city.
Though it did not officially adopt the Egyptian initiative, the Islamic Jihad promised not to hinder the Egyptian moves.
He added that the ball is now in Israel's court and the ceasefire deal is in the hands of Egypt.