CAIRO: Palestinian groups in Gaza will meet with Intelligence chief Omar Suleiman in Egypt next week to make a final decision on the truce being negotiated with Israel.
Representatives of Hamas and other factions in Gaza will meet Suleiman, who had presented the agreement to Israeli officials last Monday, to discover the Israeli position and make a final decision on whether the truce will go ahead.
“The fate of the issue of calm would depend on that meeting. We will listen and, depending on that, a decision will be made, Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha said in Gaza.
If the Israeli response was positive, then “there could be an agreement reached on the zero hours, Taha added.
Suleiman told reporters after holding talks with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak that he had “high expectations about the success of reaching a ceasefire agreement.
The meeting will take place on Sunday, Taha said.
Egypt’s mediation plan 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.
Furthermore, the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza would also be reopened under the control of the Fatah Presidential Guard.
The Rafah crossing had been temporarily opened for three days to allow Gazans to seek medical treatment in Egypt. It was closed again on Tuesday.
A total of 1,433 Palestinians crossed through the gate since Saturday according to AFP.
A security official told the French news agency that three new tunnels had been discovered under the border which had been used for smuggling goods into Gaza. One of the tunnels contained a sizable amount of children’s toys which were to be smuggled into the locked off territory.
Unnamed Israeli defense officials told the Israeli press they believe that Egypt intends to open the Rafah crossing regardless of whether the ceasefire agreement goes through or not.
Israeli officials told Suleiman while he was in Tel Aviv that they were against the crossing being reopened until Shalit had been released.
However, the Israelis believe that the crossing might be reopened under an agreement between Egypt and Hamas.
“We value the Egyptian role. We are seeking Arab and Muslim support for Egypt to open the crossing permanently, local coordinator for Palestinian affairs in the area Abdel-Sattar El-Ghalban told Daily News Egypt. “Egypt is doing what it can but the Arabs need to stand behind it to reopen the crossing.