Egypt, Palestinians to announce truce, statehood initiative

Egypt, Palestinians to announce truce, statehood initiative

Palestinians say ceasefire deal reached; Israeli spokesperson says truce not yet 'signed, sealed, delivered'

Avi Issacharoff

Avi Issacharoff, The Times of Israel's Middle East analyst, fills the same role for Walla, the leading portal in Israel. He is also a guest commentator on many different radio shows and current affairs programs on television. Until 2012, he was a reporter and commentator on Arab affairs for the Haaretz newspaper. He also lectures on modern Palestinian history at Tel Aviv University, and is currently writing a script for an action-drama series for the Israeli satellite Television "YES." Born in Jerusalem, he graduated cum laude from Ben Gurion University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and then earned his M.A. from Tel Aviv University on the same subject, also cum laude. A fluent Arabic speaker, Avi was the Middle East Affairs correspondent for Israeli Public Radio covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq and the Arab countries between the years 2003-2006. Avi directed and edited short documentary films on Israeli television programs dealing with the Middle East. In 2002 he won the "best reporter" award for the "Israel Radio” for his coverage of the second intifada. In 2004, together with Amos Harel, he wrote "The Seventh War - How we won and why we lost the war with the Palestinians." A year later the book won an award from the Institute for Strategic Studies for containing the best research on security affairs in Israel. In 2008, Issacharoff and Harel published their second book, entitled "34 Days - The Story of the Second Lebanon War," which won the same prize.

Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (photo credit: AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
Senior Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (photo credit: AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)

Egypt and the Palestinian Authority on Tuesday planned to announce both a Gaza ceasefire and a diplomatic initiative by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to establish a Palestinian state.

Senior Palestinian officials told The Times of Israel that according to the joint Palestinian-Egyptian plan, the Palestinian leadership will convene in Ramallah between 7:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. this evening to introduce Abbas’s framework to “put an end to the occupation” and establish a Palestinian state.

At the same time, Cairo will call for a permanent ceasefire based on the agreements reached after Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. According to the Egyptian proposal, the Palestinian factions’ demand for a seaport and airport will be discussed in a month’s time.

A senior Hamas official said Tuesday that an extended ceasefire was reached with Israel. Israel didn’t make any official comment on the report.

An official announcement concerning the ceasefire deal was expected to be made by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at 7:00 p.m. local time. Islamic Jihad also confirmed that a ceasefire deal was reached.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official involved in the ceasefire talks in Cairo, said that “the negotiations are over and we’ve arrived at understandings which cement the strong position of the Palestinian people and the victory of the resistance.”

“We’re waiting for the official announcement to determine zero hour and declare the ceasefire and the end to Israeli aggression,” Abu Marzouk said.

Earlier, Hamas’s Gaza Strip Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that the two sides were close to reaching a ceasefire agreement.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Mark Regev told the International Business Times that reports of a Gaza ceasefire are “just reports,” and that “the truce is not signed, sealed, delivered… yet,” a reported for the International Business Times tweeted.

Tuesday’s announcement comes after a string of unsubstantiated reports of ceasefire agreements in recent weeks. An eight-day series of back-to-back truces cobbled together by Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo fell apart last week after Hamas fired rockets into southern Israel.

Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.

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