GAZA CITY (AFP) – The Palestinian Hamas movement will send a delegation to Egypt to discuss a proposed truce with Israel in the Gaza Strip where the Islamists seized power nearly a year ago, a spokesman said on Friday.
“Hamas will send a delegation to Egypt on Monday to discuss a period of calm in Gaza,” Hamas spokesman Ayman Taha told journalists, adding that the delegation would discuss conditions set by Israel.
Egypt has been brokering the negotiations and on Monday its intelligence chief Omar Suleiman presented Israeli officials with truce proposals that had already been approved by 12 armed Palestinian factions, including Hamas.
Egypt has been acting as mediator because Israel refuses to negotiate directly with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organisation.
Hamas, which seized control of the Gaza Strip in June last year, hopes that in exchange for halting rocket attacks on southern Israel, the Israelis will lift their crippling blockade of the impoverished territory.
Israel has raised some conditions for a truce, including progress on the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit captured by Palestinian commandos in 2006 and a halt to arms smuggling into Gaza from Egypt’s Sinai peninsula.
Hamas has rejected the conditions, insisting that Shalit’s release be part of a prisoner exchange separate from any truce agreement.