Hamas Makes an Offer

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - A Hamas delegation in Cairo announced its terms for a one-year cease-fire with Israel.

Following meetings with Egyptian Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman on Sunday, Hamas official Ayman Taha said the group rejected an Israeli proposal for an 18-month cease-fire, but would discuss a one-year truce with its Damacus-based leaders.

Hamas spokesman Ismail Radwan reiterated earlier statements by Beirut-based Osama Hamdan, made at a Hamas rally on Sunday.

Hamdan said a long-term cease-fire would "kill the resistance."

He also said Hamas would not consider reconciling with the Palestinian Authority unless PA President Mahmoud Abbas broke off talks with Israel.

Hamdan said reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah must be based on "a resistance program to liberate territory and regain rights."

"Those who committed mistakes must correct their mistakes through a clear and frank declaration to stop security coordination with the [Israeli] occupation, release [Hamas] prisoners and later end negotiations [with Israel] because the peace process is irreversibly over," Hamdan said.

Meanwhile, Radwan said Hamas would continue arms smuggling because "no one has the right to prevent the Palestinians from equipping themselves with weapons" with which to carry on the "resistance," a euphemism for terror attacks.

According to Hamdan, the smuggling resumed a week ago and, in fact, never stopped during the three-week-long Gaza operation.

"From the first day of the cease-fire, we began to return what we'd lost and to improve what we have in our hands," Hamdan said.

"No ships, planes, or technology or satellite imagery will prevent the weapons smuggling," he said.

Fawzi Barhoum, another Hamas spokesman, also said the group would only consider a temporary calm.

"We reject an open-ended cease-fire, but a temporary calm with guarantees can be discussed," Barhoum said.

Opening of the Rafah border crossing between the Gaza Strip and the Egyptian Sinai and all the crossings on the Israeli border is another of the terror group's demands.

"We are not going to accept less than opening the borders…and lifting the sanctions," Barhoum told The Associated Press on Sunday.

During the final week of the last cease-fire, Hamas increased its rocket bombardment on Israel and then announced it would not extend the cease-fire.

That's when the Israeli government launched Operation Cast Lead, meant to end eight years of rocket fire on western Negev communities and to stop weapons smuggling.

Ninety-four percent of Israelis supported the operation in Gaza. Most felt it ended prematurely.

Meanwhile on Sunday, some Hamas leaders came out of hiding, announcing that they would begin distributing $52 million of the group's own funds to help residents rebuild, until international monies begin arriving. 

Sources: The Associated Press, The Jerusalem Post, YNet news, Haaretz

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Tzippe Barrow

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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