Palestinians: Israel Agrees to Cease-fire

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas said Monday that Israel agreed to a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

Speaking with al-Arabiya satellite television, Abbas said Israel agreed to a Hamas demand against targeting its leaders and those of Islamic Jihad.

"Hamas has demanded that its leaders and those of Islamic Jihad be protected from Israeli attacks, and I believe the Israelis have agreed," Abbas said.

At a press conference in Amman, following a meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah, Abbas told reporters the same story.

"I think the Israelis have agreed on this [a cease-fire]…and we may hear about in the next few days," he said.

In the Gaza Strip, Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh thanked Egypt for mediating a cease-fire and said Israel realized its operations in the Strip had failed due to their ability to deter Israeli "aggression."

On Tuesday, the London-based Arabic daily al-Quds al-Arabia reported that Israel agreed to a month-long cease-fire with Hamas, which would not be finalized until the Arab League summit in Damascus at the end of the month.

The paper stated that Abbas was staying in close contact with Egyptian mediators to ensure that the "official truce" would include the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) as well.

'No such agreement'

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that no negotiations had been conducted with Hamas, either directly or indirectly, and no agreement had been reached.

"There is no cease-fire agreement. There are no negotiations, direct or indirect," Olmert said.

The prime minister also said that Egypt is not authorized to negotiate with Hamas on Israel's behalf.

"We did not turn to them about this, and they have no mandate," Olmert said.

During a visit to an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) base at Tel Hashomer, Defense Minister Ehud Barak also said nothing has been formulated with Hamas.

"At this moment, there is no agreement with Hamas for calm on the ground," Barak said.

"When we want to act in Gaza, we shall. When terrorism and arms smuggling into the Strip stop, then we will consider the path toward calm. We are committed to restoring calm to the area, and we shall even if it takes time -- and it will involve effort," he said.

"If there is school in Ashkelon today without Grad [missiles], and students are in school in Sderot and at Sapir College without Kassams, I suggest that we do not complain about a quiet day," the defense minister said.

Sources: YNet news service, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz

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