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Palestinian authorities offer 24-hour truce

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The PLO has said that all Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have united to offer a 24-hour ceasefire in Gaza, a move Hamas however insisted must be guaranteed by Israel for it to work.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the PLO executive committee, said on Tuesday that a 24-hour truce offer was agreed and that a unified delegation could be sent to Cairo to talk about the next steps.

The UN and diplomats have over the last week tried to broker a temporary halt to violence in Gaza, in order to create conditions for talks in Cairo between all parties for a full ceasefire.

“The factions, including Hamas and Jihad, are prepared for a 24-hour truce and Israel will be held the responsible if it doesn’t accept the truce as well,” he said.

“There is a proposal from the UN to extend the truce to 72 hours. And we look favorably upon that. This is more proof that we have a unified Palestinian stand. ”

However Osama Hamdan, a Hamas spokesman in Beirut, Lebanon, said that the organisation welcomed the idea of a ceasefire “but we need a guarantee that the Israelis will not violate that”.

Another Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said: “When we have an Israeli commitment – with international pledges – to a humanitarian ceasefire, we will consider it. As for announcing a ceasefire from one side as the occupation kills our children, then we won’t do it. The resistance speaks for itself and Abed Rabbo does not speak for it.”

Israel’s government spokesman Mark Regev told the AP news agency that the offer was “not serious” until Israel heard from Hamas directly.

The Israeli security cabinet meanwhile was due to meet at about 4pm GMT on Tuesday – a meeting that could prove crucial to any progress on the offer.

Israel continues to pound the Gaza Strip. At least 100 Palestinians were killed on Tuesday, according to Gaza officials. The total Palestinian death toll in more than three weeks of Israel-Hamas fighting has surpassed 1,165.

On the Israeli side, 56 people have been killed, most of them soldiers. Al Jazeera

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