(JTA) – A spokesperson for the Islamic Jihad in Gaza said a cease-fire agreement will be signed with Israel next week, though Israeli officials have not confirmed this.
Yousef al-Hasayneh told the Ma’an news agency Friday that his group “expects a complete truce agreement to be signed right as the five-day cease-fire ends.”
Islamic Jihad fought alongside Hamas against Israel in hostilities that erupted on July 8 following an escalation in the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. On Wednesday night, Israel and Hamas agreed on a five-day cease-fire while the parties were discussing a permanent cease-fire during Egyptian-brokered talks in Cairo.
The Palestinian delegation to Cairo “has made much progress in ending the siege and the offensive on Palestinians,” al-Hasayneh said, adding that the “final truce” would ease Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, expand the fishing zone and increase imports into Gaza, especially of construction materials.
But Israeli defense officials told Army Radio Friday that there were “areas of disagreement” and that it was too early to know whether an agreement could be reached. A meeting of the Israeli cabinet Friday ended without any dramatic decisions, Haaretz reported.
In his statement, al-Hasayneh said that construction of an airport and seaport in Gaza will be discussed a month after signing the agreement.
More than 1,700 Palestinians have been killed in the war. Sixty-five Israeli soldiers and three civilians have been killed.
Israel has demanded the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, while Hamas has demanded the construction of a seaport and airport, as well as the lifting of the blockade.