Haniya: 'No ceasefire without West Bank'

Any ceasefire between Hamas and Israel would have to extend to the West Bank, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said Wednesday.

Haniya: 'No ceasefire without West Bank'
Any ceasefire between Hamas and Israel would have to extend to the West Bank, Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said Wednesday.

"The lull, if accepted by the Israeli occupation, must be mutual, comprehensive and applied in West Bank and Gaza Strip under a national Palestinian agreement," he said while opening a paediatric hospital in Gaza City.

"The ball now is in the Israeli court," he added.

Haniya's statements came as senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar informed Egyptian mediators of the movement's stance regarding a truce.

Egypt has been trying to forge a ceasefire between Hamas and other Palestinian groups Israel.

Hamas, which administers the Gaza Strip, wants the truce to extend also to the West Bank which is ruled by an unratified government set up by President Mahmoud Abbas, and where Israel conducts nightly arrest raids.

Haniya said Wednesday that the truce "must emphasize the geographical unity of the Palestinian land and people.

The deal also had to include agreement by Israel to lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip, tightened last June.

Haniya said Wednesday that while Hamas was prepared to accept a Palestinian state in the borders which existed before the 1967 war, but stressed that this did not mean recognition of the Jewish state.

Agencies
Last Mod: 23 Nisan 2008, 17:27
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