CAIRO: Palestinian factions will meet today and tomorrow in Egypt to reach a unified position on the ceasefire agreement with Israel. The talks will be hosted by intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.
Three other factions will be present alongside the two main rivals in the Palestinian political scene Fatah and Hamas. They are the Popular Resistance Committees, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas was in Sharm El-Sheikh on Sunday holding talks with President Hosni Mubarak. After the talks Abbas told reporters that he “unconditionally supports the efforts undertaken by Egypt to achieve a truce in Gaza.
Egypt is attempting to negotiate a truce between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, which would lead to the lifting of the blockade on the strip and thus prevent further breaches of the Egypt-Rafah border.
Despite previous comments by Hamas officials denigrating Egyptian comments about the group as well as threats of further border breaches, a member of the organization, which rules Gaza, stated Sunday that Hamas had no intention of threatening Egyptian national security.
“Egyptian national security and Arab security are both red lines that Hamas cannot cross, said Mohammed Nasser, a member of the Hamas politburo, the Xinhua news agency reported.
Palestinian factions “carry out resistance work without harming Egypt s national security, Nasser added.
His comments came after reports that two members of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested for allegedly cooperating with Hamas on preparing an “unmanned aircraft . The purpose of the craft was unknown. (Details on Page 2).
Such reports were intended to create hostility between the Arabs, Nasser said. Hamas originated as an offshoot of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt’s mediation plan, presented by Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in Washington, consists of Hamas ending rocket fire into Southern Israel, with Israel reciprocating in Gaza, accompanied by a prisoner exchange of 400 Palestinian prisoners for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and the opening of border crossings between Gaza and Israel.
The truce comes with further conditions, notably lifting the Israeli siege on Gaza and reopening the Rafah border crossing, according to Palestinian Information Minister Riyadh Al-Maliki.
After talks with Suleiman last Thursday, Hamas official Mahmoud El Zahar said that the ceasefire must be “reciprocal, simultaneous and comprehensive . But Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said on Sunday that the agreement “does not say the elements are simultaneous, AFP reported.
Previously there had been tension between Egypt and Hamas over comments made regarding the truce.
Aboul Gheit had said while in Washington, where he announced the tenets of the agreement, “I think over time, Hamas will have to change because by not changing they are damaging prospects for Palestinian peace.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zahra said that Aboul Gheit’s statements indicated that he did not recognize the legitimacy of Hamas, which “won a free and fair election witnessed by the world .