Palestinian Cells Unite under Egyptian Plan

Ad Feedback - CAIRO - Representatives of 12 Palestinian terror cells have accepted Egypt's plan for a tahadiyeh (temporary calm) with Israel.

Just before Egypt announced the Palestinian consensus, they released a senior commander of the Izz al-Din Kassam Brigades, the "armed" wing of Hamas, 35-year-old Ramzi Hamid, who had spent four years in an Egyptian prison.

According to Hamas, Hamid's release was a reward for accepting Egypt's temporary truce.

"This initiative is part of a larger plan designed to create a suitable atmosphere to lift the siege and end the state of division among the Palestinians," an Egyptian official said.

"The tahadiyeh will be implemented in phases. It will begin in the Gaza Strip and at a later stage will be applied to the West Bank ," the official said.

Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh welcomed the agreement between Egypt and the 12 Palestinian groups.

"We wish to express our deep gratitude for President Hosni Mubarak and General Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman for their efforts to halt the aggression against our people," Haniyeh said. "We emphasize the need to comply with the Palestinian stance and fulfill our demands of lifting the siege and reopening the border crossings," he said.

Islamic Jihad did not accept the proposal but said it would not "violate or hinder it."

Ziad Nakhalah, who led the Islamic Jihad delegation to Cairo, said his group reserves the right to retaliate against any Israeli counter-terror operations in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).

"We can give legitimacy to Israel's crimes against our people in the West Bank," Nakhalah said.

Muhammad al-Baba of the Popular Resistance Committees said Egypt agreed to pressure Israel to cease its operations in the West Bank.

"The Egyptians promised to put pressure on Israel to refrain from provoking us by launching attacks in the West Bank," he said. "Otherwise, we have the right to respond to Israel's aggressive actions."

In the past, the Palestinians used periods of calm to rearm and re-supply weaponry in preparation for a new wave of terror attacks.

Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post

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