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Islamic Jihad calls on Hamas to press Israel to comply with truce

Nov. 20, 2008 7:44 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 20, 2008 7:44 P.M.)
Gaza - Ma'an - The Hamas government in Gaza came under pressure on Thursday from the Islamic Jihad movement to press Israel to comply with last June's Egyptian-brokered truce agreement.

Senior Islamic Jihad Leader Nafez Azzam met with senior Hamas officials, including Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza to dicuss the truce and efforts at restoring Palestinian unity.

Azzam said truce should "not be a sword aimed at the Palestinians. The resistance will not give it unilaterally, so the involved sides should place real pressure on Israel to abide by the requirements of the truce and open the crossings, including Rafah."

Under the terms of the ceasefire, Israel was to ease its closure of Gaza, eventually allowing all border crossings to open, including the Rafa border between Gaza and Egypt.

Two weeks of renewed Israeli incursions, blockade, and the launch of Palestinian homemade rockets have thrown the truce into question.

Azzam said Palestinan resistance has the right to respond "in a suitable way" to Israeli attacks.

He also said that "every effort" should be made to get Palestinian political factions back to the negotiating table in order to restore political unity. He called on both Hamas and its rival Fatah, which dominates the West Bank, to release political prisoners, in order to create the right "atmosphere" for dialogue.

Azzam said both Hamas and Fatah have the same vision of getting the Palestinian house in order in order to 'support and empower Palestinian resistance' to the Israeli occupation.

"The leadership of the two movements agreed on continuing to work towards talks for the interest of all," he said.

Azzam urged Egypt and the Arab League to resume efforts to reunify the Palestinians.

He also called on Arab states to take a stand to break the siege of Gaza, saying that this would help efforts at restoring Palestinian unity.
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