Hamas to present Gaza ceasefire blueprint on Thursday
Palestinian resistance faction Hamas will present a 5-point blueprint for a ceasefire with Israel in the Gaza Strip on Thursday, a Palestinian source close to Hamas said Wednesday.
The blueprint calls for reopening all Gaza crossings and creating a naval corridor for the Palestinian territory, the source told Anadolu Agency.
The proposal also calls for a permanent opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt and providing international guarantees that the terminal will not be closed.
The Hamas plan also calls for allowing free movement for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem and the release of detainees who had been released as part of a 2011 prisoner swap but were rearrested several weeks ago on the pretext that they had violated the terms of their parole.
According to the Palestinian source, the blueprint will be presented to the Arab League, Egypt, the United Nations and Jordan.
Since July 7, Israeli warplanes have pounded the Gaza Strip with the ostensible aim of ending Palestinian rocket fire from the besieged coastal enclave.
Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to fire rockets at Israel – some of which have reached Tel Aviv – in response to the ongoing airstrikes.
On Monday, Egypt proposed a ceasefire between Gaza-based resistance factions and Israel that aims to end days of violence between Gaza and Israel in which one Israeli and 222 Palestinians have been killed.
Cairo's initiative called on Israel to cease all hostilities in the Gaza Strip, halt all ground operations and refrain from targeting civilians, according to an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement.
It also called on Palestinian resistance factions to cease hostilities against Israel, halt rocket fire and cross-border attacks and stop targeting civilians.
The overture further calls for reopening Gaza's closed border crossings and facilitating the movement of persons and goods in and out of the embattled coastal territory.
Israel initially accepted the ceasefire proposal before quickly making a U-turn and resuming airstrikes on Tuesday, citing the failure of Hamas and Islamic Jihad to respond positively to the initiative.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad, for their part, rejected the Egyptian proposal, with the latter saying the terms of the deal failed to meet the basic aspirations of the Palestinian people and the conditions of the Palestinian resistance.
On Wednesday, Hamas said that it had rejected an Egyptian ceasefire proposal for "formal and essential reasons".
"One of the reasons is that the Egyptian initiative calls or ceasing fire even before reaching any agreement," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told a press conference in the Gaza City on Wednesday.
He said that Hamas will not accept any ceasefire unless it meets Palestinian conditions.
"We will not accept any initiative that does not meet the Palestinian conditions," he said, going on to call for the reopening of the Rafah crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
Since last summer's ouster of Mohamed Morsi – the country's first freely elected president – by the army, Egypt has kept the Rafah border crossing closed for the most part.
The Rafah border terminal represents Gaza's only window to the outside world that is not under Israeli control.
Egyptian authorities generally only open the crossing for exceptional cases and for limited periods of time.
By Yasser al-Banna