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The word ´cease-fire´ is not in the Hamas dictionary, says Rantisi (JERUSALEM POST) By KHALED ABU TOAMEH 06/15/03) Source: http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost/A/JPArticle/ShowFull&cid=1055574201340
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Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Saturday rejected efforts by the Palestinian Authority to reach a cease-fire and vowed to continue their attacks against Israel.
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Under the terms of the proposed cease-fire, initially to last three days, Israel would stop all attempts to assassinate Palestinian terrorist leaders in exchange for a promise by Hamas to halt all attacks on Israel, including the firing of Kassam rockets.
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"Hamas is rejecting any call for cease-fire under occupation," senior Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi said in Gaza City. "The word cease- fire is not in our dictionary. We are being attacked, the Palestinian people, our land, our religious sites are being attacked by Zionist terrorists. This is a situation of self-defense and we will continue to defend ourselves." Islamic Jihad also rejected the proposal, describing it as "trick."
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"What is a three-day cease-fire? Will he [Prime Minister Ariel Sharon] start shelling again after three days? If there is no clear position on ending the occupation and releasing prisoners, we will go back to the cycle of violence," said Muhammad al-Hindi, a spokesman for Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip.
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"Sharon´s proposal looks to us like a trick for international opinion, but in the meantime we are the ones being hit," he said. "We reject this cease-fire."
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PA officials said that despite the announcements by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, leaders of the two radical groups have privately expressed their readiness to consider the cease-fire proposal.
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"The Israeli military attacks on Hamas in the past few days have caused many of the movement´s leaders to reconsider their position," said a senior PA official in Ramallah. "They´re very nervous now that Israel has begun targeting Hamas´s political leaders." A source close to Hamas said the movement would be prepared to halt its attacks against Israeli civilians if Israel stopped its policy of assassination.
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Over the weekend PA Chairman Yasser Arafat held a series of emergency meetings in his office in Ramallah with the heads of the Palestinian security forces to discuss ways of restoring order to the Gaza Strip.
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Palestinian security officials said Arafat instructed them to prepare detailed plans for deploying Palestinian policemen in areas evacuated by the IDF in the Gaza Strip.
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PA State Minister for Security Muhammad Dahlan, head of National Security in the West Bank and Gaza Strip Gen. Abdel Razeq al- Majaydeh, head of Public Security in Gaza City Saeb al-Ajez, and General Intelligence chief Gen. Amin al-Hindi were among those who attended the meeting. Rashid Abu Shabak, head of the Preventive Security Service in the Gaza Strip, was not allowed by Israel to travel to the West Bank for the meeting.
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One security official told The Jerusalem Post that Arafat told him and his colleagues that he is determined to put an end to the latest cycle of violence.
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Another security official said Arafat appeared angered by the growing popularity of Hamas, especially in the Gaza Strip, following last week´s failed assassination attempt on Rantisi.
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"The Palestinian Authority is ready to take over responsibility for security in areas evacuated by Israeli troops," PA Information Minister Nabil Amr said.
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"We have taken a decision that if Israel shows readiness to withdraw from any Palestinian territory, we will take security responsibility in this area," he said. He said US, Egyptian, Israeli and Palestinian officials were "totally involved in contacts and talks" to end an upsurge of bloodshed that has left more than 60 people dead since the Aqaba summit 11 days ago.
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PA Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas did not attend any of the meetings since he is recuperating from eye surgery in Jordan. His absence has given Arafat an opportunity to reassert his authority by summoning the security chiefs to his office in Ramallah and demanding that they take immediate action to stop the deterioration. (© 1995-2003, The Jerusalem Post 06/15/03)
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