Sarkozy: Israel, P.A. accept truce plan

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and the Palestinian Authority have accepted a truce plan for Gaza, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced.

A Lebanon-based Hamas representative and Islamic Jihad rejected the plan, however.

Israel did not confirm its acceptance following Sarkozy’s announcement Wednesday afternoon, but a statement released from the Prime Minister’s Office read that "Israel thanks Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy for their efforts to advance a solution for halting terrorist actions from Gaza and the smuggling of war material into the Gaza Strip from Egypt. Israel views as positive the dialogue between Egyptian and Israeli officials in order to advance these issues."

The details of the plan have not been released.

Israel government spokesman Mark Regev told The Associated Press after the announcement that Israel could accept the proposal, unveiled Tuesday night by Mubarak, if the plan stops rocket fire from Gaza and includes serious measures to prevent Hamas from obtaining arms through Egypt.

A statement from Sarkozy’s office said, "The president is delighted by the acceptance by Israel and the Palestinian Authority of the Franco-Egyptian plan presented last night in Sharm el-Sheikh by President Hosni Mubarak."

The Hamas representative, Osama Hamdan, said the plan is unacceptable, Ynet reported.

"There is no need to get excited over the Israeli agreement that was published," Hamdan said. "Israel’s objective is to gain time in order to continue its offensive."  

Islamic Jihad in its rejection said the initiative is "pathetic and serves Israel," and that it will continue to fight against Israel, Ynet reported.

Israel’s Security Cabinet met Wednesday to decide whether to enlarge the Gaza operation. The Cabinet, which includes Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, adjourned without making a decision, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reported, but issued a statement praising efforts by third parties to come up with a truce plan.
 

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