Arab League chief urges Hamas to accept Egypt's truce plan

Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi urged Hamas on Monday to accept an Egyptian proposal to end the fighting between the militants in Gaza and Israel that has killed almost 600 Palestinians. -- PHOTO: AFP
Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi urged Hamas on Monday to accept an Egyptian proposal to end the fighting between the militants in Gaza and Israel that has killed almost 600 Palestinians. -- PHOTO: AFP

CAIRO (AFP) - Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi urged Hamas on Monday to accept an Egyptian proposal to end the fighting between the militants in Gaza and Israel that has killed almost 600 Palestinians.

"The Egyptian proposal clearly calls for a ceasefire. We hope Hamas accepts it," he told reporters after meeting UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Cairo, where US Secretary of State John Kerry also arrived to push for a truce.

Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal last week but Hamas spurned it, demanding a guarantee that the Israeli and Egyptian blockade of Gaza, an impoverished coastal strip, be lifted.

Arabi referred to a clause in the Egyptian initiative that proposes border crossings into Gaza be opened once the security situation allows.

Hamas says that would leave the decision up to Israel, which enforced the blockade after militants seized one of its soldiers in 2006.

"Israel gets to assess of course the security situation," a senior Hamas official told AFP. "Everything must be simultaneous: ending the (Israeli) aggression and ending the siege," he added.