By Larry Derfner, Mideast Watch
The Palestinian militant group Hamas today turned down a new proposal for a truce with Israel. It came in Cairo from Egyptian leaders who are the chief mediators in the Israeli-Gaza war that began December 27. Quoting the London-based Arabic daily Al-Hayat, Ha'aretz reports:
The newspaper quoted a senior Hamas source as saying: "There are still many details that need to be discussed before we can say that we have reached an agreement of principles.
Hamas's refusal was prompted by pressure from Iranian officials who brought their objections directly to Hamas leaders in Damascus, reports the Jerusalem Post, quoting an unnamed Egyptian official close to the talks in Cairo:
The Egyptian official said that the two Iranian emissaries, Ali Larijani, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, and Said Jalili of the Iranian Intelligence Service, met in the Syrian capital with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal and Islamic Jihad Secretary-General Ramadan Shallah.
"As soon as the Iranians heard about the Egyptian cease-fire initiative, they dispatched the two officials to Damascus on an urgent mission to warn the Palestinians against accepting it," the Egyptian government official told the Post.
"The Iranians threatened to stop weapons supplies and funding to the Palestinian factions if they agreed to a cease-fire with Israel. The Iranians want to fight Israel and the US indirectly. They are doing this through Hamas in Palestine and Hizbullah in Lebanon".
Israel's Channel 2 reported that Hamas leaders in Gaza, under relentless fire from Israel, are "begging" for a truce on "nearly any terms," but that Mashaal and the movement's Damascus-based "political" leadership insist on fighting on.
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