Hamas rejects international observers in Gaza
Syria-based Palestinian militant groups including Hamas on Saturday rejected deploying international observers or troops in Gaza.
A statement issued by the groups after a meeting attended by Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal also rejected any security arrangement that "infringes on the right of resistance against Israeli occupation."
The statement reiterated Hamas' demands including an immediate halt to Israeli attacks, full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, lifting the siege and opening all border crossings. It said these demands serve as the "foundation for any initiatives or suggestions for a solution."
The statement comes hours after Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on Hamas, which controls Gaza, to reach an agreement to end the fighting.
Abbas, who was in Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip, now in its 15th day, said the Egyptian proposal, put forward earlier this week by President Hosni Mubarak at a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is the only way forward.
"If any party does not accept it (the truce), regrettably it will be the one bearing the responsibility, and if Israel doesn't want to accept, it will take the responsibility of perpetuating a waterfall of blood," Abbas said.
The statement issued by the Damascus-based groups did not specifically mention the Egyptian mediation but expressed readiness to continue to work with any "honest efforts" to stop the Gaza fighting.
It said the groups reject "any initiatives or suggestions that seek to achieve goals that the (Israeli) enemy could not achieve through the barbaric military aggression."
Egypt's plan calls for a temporary cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza that would hopefully lead to a more long-term cease-fire, negotiations on the underlying problems that led to the fighting including how to lift the siege of Gaza and secure the borders, and then talks between the warring Palestinian factions aimed at coming up with a unity government.