Jerusalem : Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement will neither formally sign an Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal with Israel nor be the first to break it, Israeli daily Ha’aretz quoted a senior Jihad member as saying Thursday.
All 12 Palestinian factions has reportedly accepted the Egyptian proposal, which would offer Israel a period of lull in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, in exchange for the opening of the crossing points into the coastal territory, with a possible extension to the West Bank.
Islamic Jihad could not be a party to a truce agreement that did not apply at the onset to the occupied West Bank, Zeyad al-Nakhala, deputy to exiled Jihad chief Ramadan Shallah, was quoted as saying.
“But we will not be the first to violate or undermine it, and we will give a chance for the reopening of crossings and alleviating the suffering of our people,” he added.
Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman is expected to visit Israel soon to receive Israel’s official response. Ha’aretz quoted Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit’s bureau chief assaying that Egypt is expecting Israel to accept and implement the cease-fire proposal.
A majority of Israeli security cabinet ministers rejected the truce deal at a meeting Wednesday, local daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported, adding that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, without making any definitive decision, said he would rather wait for the defense establishment to study the offer first.