By Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute—-
Iran seems concerned that its Palestinian allies in the Gaza Strip may reach a long-term ceasefire with Israel. That is probably why Iran summoned leaders of Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) to Tehran after reports in the Arab media suggested that the Egyptians have made significant progress in their efforts to achieve a long-term ceasefire between the Gaza-based Palestinian factions, including Hamas and PIJ.
According to the reports, the leaders of Hamas and PIJ who visited Cairo agreed to a long-term ceasefire with Israel. Both groups reportedly told the Egyptians that they would commit to the proposed ceasefire only if Israel halts targeted killings of Hamas and PIJ operatives.
Despite the reports, PIJ officials were quoted as denying that they had agreed to “consolidate” the ceasefire understandings reached with Israel earlier this year under the auspices of Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations. The PIJ leaders reportedly informed the Egyptian mediators that while they were opposed to a long-term ceasefire with Israel, they would honor a formula according to which “calm would be met with calm.” What PIJ is saying, in other words, is that they will attack Israel only in response to Israeli “aggression” on the Gaza Strip.
Hamas has also denied the reports about an imminent Egyptian-brokered long-term ceasefire with Israel. Yahya Musa, a senior Hamas official in the Gaza Strip, dismissed the reports as “nonsense” and “fake news.”
Another senior Hamas official, Mahmoud Zahar, downplayed the reports about a possible long-term ceasefire with Israel. He said that even if his group agrees to a temporary cessation of terror attacks against Israel, that would be only to allow Hamas to continue stockpiling weapons. “There’s no ignoring our main goal: the liberation of all of Palestine,” Zahar explained. “Whoever tries to portray the calm as a form of security cooperation or agreement with the enemy is mistaken.” Continue Reading…..