Hamas say no to long-term deal


Hamas has formally rejected a proposal for a long-term ceasefire with Israel. The truce would have been in exchange for a lifting of the Gaza blockade and reconstruction of the war-ravaged strip.

The offer was a result of ongoing discussions between Palestinian, Israeli and international diplomats, and was conveyed to Hamas last week by a United Nations representative.

The broad outline was for Hamas to commit to preventing the firing of missiles and mortars on Israeli territory from the Gaza Strip.

In return, both Israel and Egypt were to agree to regular openings of border crossings to both passengers and goods.

There would also have been wider-scale deliveries of building materials to Gaza to assist reconstruction efforts.

Despite an initial willingness by Hamas officials in Gaza to accept the agreement, it was rejected last Wednesday by Musa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the movement's political bureau, who is based in Cairo.

He warned the deal would "lead to the separation of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank" amid deepening tensions between Hamas and the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

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