Hamas and other militant groups are on the verge of agreeing to halt attacks on Israelis, Palestinian officials said Monday, while Israel warned it may not accept what it considers a tactical cease-fire meant to give the militias time to regroup for more violence. A U.S.-backed peace plan, the “road map” to Palestinian statehood by 2005, has been hung up over the two sides’ inability to end 33 months of fighting, with each saying, in effect, that the other must go first. An agreement by Palestinian militias to suspend their armed uprising could be a major breakthrough and a way out. However, Israeli officials remained deeply suspicious, saying a truce is just a ploy by militants to win time to prepare for more shootings and bombings. The terms of the emerging deal between Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and the militias were not clear. One Palestinian mediator said the truce will be open-ended and apply not only to Israel, but also the West Bank and Gaza Strip — a key condition for Israel. Full Story
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