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Abbas announces Israel-Gaza ceasefire

Aug. 26, 2014 6:52 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 28, 2014 10:27 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday announced a long-term ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

In a short televised address, Abbas said the agreement would go into effect at 7 p.m.

"We confirm complete appreciation to the Egyptian efforts which started long ago seeking to satisfy all sides. Qatar also played a role in that. We also would like to mention that (US Secretary of State John) Kerry was also in touch with us for the same purpose and so we thank all those who played roles," Abbas said.

"We discussed several necessary things with Hamas leaders in Qatar in order to enable the national consensus government to do its job," he continued."

"During these 50 days or more, we exerted every effort to provide our people with the supplies they needed. Some supplies were from us and others from our friends. But still this isn't enough. ... People in Gaza need a lot more. Quick support is needed to try and heal the wound which was inflicted on Gaza.

"The question is now 'What's next?' Gaza suffered three wars and are we expecting another one? We will consult friends and the international community, and we can't continue with 'cloudy negotiations,'" he said.

For his part, deputy chief of Hamas' politburo Mousa Abu Marzouq wrote on his Twitter account that "talks have ended. We have reached understandings crowning our people's steadfastness and our resistance's triumph. We are awaiting a statement setting the zero point and end to the aggression."

A well-placed Palestinian source confirmed that Gaza border crossings would be open in tandem with an extended ceasefire.

The source explained that Egypt would issue a statement calling for a comprehensive and mutual ceasefire together with opening Gaza's crossings for the entry of construction material.

The Gaza fishing zone will also be increased.

In addition, the source said, Israel has pledged to stop targeted assassinations against Palestinian resistance activists and faction leaders.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, added that a round of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians would start in Cairo a month later to discuss unresolved issues.

Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have accepted the newly reached ceasefire agreement which Israel also accepted, the source highlighted.

Spokesman of the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees Abu Mujahid also told Ma'an that a permanent ceasefire agreement would go into effect this evening.

He said the agreement would be based on the 2012 truce and would include opening Gaza crossing points permanently.

He said opening crossings would mean an end to the Gaza siege, reconstruction of the enclave, removing the "no-go zone" and enlarging the Gaza fishing zone.

Israel's Channel 10 TV quoted Israeli officials as saying they agreed to a ceasefire and that Prime Minister Netanyahu had notified all security cabinet members about the agreement.
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