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Fatah: Israeli ceasefire not good enough; "ploy to mislead international opinion"

Jan. 18, 2009 12:12 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 18, 2009 12:12 P.M.)
Ramallah - Ma'an - The protection of women, children and the elderly is the top priority in the Gaza Strip, said Fatah spokesperson Fahmi Az-Za'areer on Sunday morning.

The priority of protecting vulnerable groups has been central to Fatah's responses to the Israeli offensive from the start. Az-Za'areer added, however, that a ceasefire without Israeli troop withdrawal would not ensure the protection of these groups and so was unacceptable.

Fatah demanded a full withdrawal, a cessation of violence and an opening of Gaza's borders. Az-Za'reer said the ceasefire call is a ploy to mislead the international opinion, quiet diplomatic efforts for a fair end to the offensive in front of the Arab Summit in Kuwait, the inauguration of US President elect Barack Obama and the Sharam Ash-Sheikh meetings with international leaders taking place Sunday.

Az-Za'reer reminded the world that the West Bank is still under Israeli occupation, and has been totally reoccupied since 2002, after Israel's Operation Defensive Shield. He said that he hoped a similar situation would not befall Gaza.

He demanded that no excuses be taken on the issue and that a ceasefire should be a complete cease to aggression through withdrawal from the Palestinian lands and lifting siege and opening all borders.

He confirmed the importance of communications between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Egyptian counterpart Hosni Mubarak and the international effort through Sharam Ash-Sheikh. The meeting focuses on reaching an agreement that will see UN resolution 1860 enforced in Gaza via the Egyptian initiative.

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