Al Aqsa Brigades Terrorist Group Refuses To Sign

Special Report: For Your Glory

June 30, 2003

The Israeli news announced this morning that mainstream Palestinian Fatah movement, headed by Yasser Arafat, on Sunday joined a truce declared earlier by terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad. A statement issued by Fatah said it would halt all military operations in accordance with an Egyptian initiative calling for a six-month truce. It must be noted, however, that the Al Aksa Brigades terrorist group did not sign on to this cease-fire.

Fatah officials said the group's central committee approved the cease-fire several hours after Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who declared a three-month half to attacks against Israelis, catching Fatah leaders by surprise The truce was negotiated by the three main groups last week, but a formal announcement was held up while additional groups were consulted and wrangling continued over the final wording of the cease-fire statement. Also, some Fatah leaders complained they were not consulted in the negotiations.

Meanwhile, two Palestinian factions who had declared their opposition to the cease-fire agreement, said on Sunday that they would honor the truce. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said it would not join a declaration, but would not violate a truce either, while Israel Radio reported that the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine had accepted a three-month cease-fire. Israeli officials warned that the truce could be used by militants to regroup for more attacks against Israel. The government wants the Palestinian Authority to dismantle terrorist groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, as required by the U.S.-backed "road map". Palestinian Prime Minister Abbas has said that he would not use force against them nor dismantle them.

"We are not holding our breath," senior Foreign Ministry official Gideon Meir said. "We here in Israel fully support the road map, and we want it to be implemented chapter and verse."

"In the long term, this is a ticking bomb," Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told Channel One Television. "The main issue is to dismantle the infrastructures of terror." Education Minister Limor Livnat called the cease-fire a "trick" and said she saw nothing substantial in the move, Army Radio reported.
o say this is a fragile situation is the understatement of the year.