Ending days of speculation about whether they had agreed to a cease-fire with Israel, Hamas and Islamic Jihad on Tuesday denied that they would halt terrorist attacks 'without making Israel pay a price.'
Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, the Syria-based head of the movement's political bureau, said there would be no discussion of a truce before the Palestinians test Israel's intentions and receive assurances from the international community that Israel would halt its attacks on the Palestinians.
He described the recent talks between Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as 'positive.'
'We agreed that the message that we should send to the international community is that the Palestinian resistance is not the problem, but it is Israel's aggression,' he said. 'We also agreed that our message to the Zionist enemy is that there would be no solution unless the occupation ends.'
Asked if the two sides had discussed ways of calming the situation, Mashaal told the London-based daily Al-Hayat: 'There is talk about calm, but a conditioned one. If the occupation meets our conditions, including ending the occupation and releasing all the prisoners, we will be prepared to consider a temporary truce.'
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