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Hamas official: One-year cease-fire on table

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Hamas has offered Israel a one-year cease-fire if it opens border crossings into the Gaza Strip, a Hamas negotiator said.

Ayman Taha, in Cairo Sunday for meetings with Egyptian intelligence officials, told reporters that it made the counterproposal to Israel’s proposal for an 18-month truce, according to reports.

Israeli Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad met Jan. 22 with Egyptian negotiators in Cairo.

"Hamas listened to the Israeli proposal presented by Amos Gilad, and with it a proposal for a cease-fire for a year-and-a-half, but Hamas presented a counterproposal of one year only," Taha told reporters in Cairo. Hamas also called for a lifting of the Gaza blockade and the opening of all crossings, he added.

Hamas reportedly rejected the presence of Israeli monitors at the border crossings while saying it would accept European and Turkish monitors. Asked whether Palestinian Authority police would monitor the crossings, Taha reiterated that "Hamas is the existing government in Gaza." He said Palestinians monitoring the border could be associated with the Palestinian Authority but would have to be from the Gaza Strip.

Also Sunday, Hamas official Osama Hamdan told a rally in Beirut that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement must end peace negotiations and security cooperation with Israel before any reconciliation talks between the two groups can start.

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