(Reuters) - The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Thursday proposed a truce between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with an option to extend it to the West Bank.
Following is a summary of Hamas’s offer as read by former Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud al-Zahar:
* The truce between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip would be for a period of six months during which time Egypt would try to extend it to the West Bank.
* The truce must be reciprocal and simultaneous on the part of Israelis and Palestinians.
* Israel must lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip and reopen all the crossing points, including the Rafah crossing point into Egypt, simultaneously with the start of the truce.
* If Israel rejects the truce, Egypt would reopen the Rafah crossing point. If Israel reneges on its truce commitments, Egypt would keep the Rafah crossing open.
* Egypt would supervise the process of reaching a consensus on the terms of the truce with other Palestinian factions. Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman has agreed to invite whichever Palestinian factions Egypt sees fit to Egypt next Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the Hamas proposals.
* Once the Palestinian factions have agreed to the terms of the truce Suleiman will contact the Israeli side to ensure that they are committed to the truce and fix a starting time.
* Egypt has promised to start immediate contacts with the Israeli side to prepare the atmosphere for the truce and to provide basic needs to the Gaza Strip, especially fuel.
* Egypt will contact Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the rival Fatah faction to make sure that Fatah does not obstruct the opening of the crossing points.
* Egypt must try to persuade Abbas to put an end to abuses and violations in the West Bank -- a reference to Fatah’s harassment of Hamas members there.
* If Israel does not meet its truce obligations, stop attacks and end the blockade, then the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves by all legitimate means.
Reporting by Jonathan Wright, writing by Will Rasmussen
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