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Top Hamas Leaders Reject UN Cease-Fire

Top leaders of the militant Hamas group based in Damascus, are calling the U.N. cease-fire resolution "unacceptable," but said that they are preparing to send a delegation to Cairo to discuss an Egyptian peace plan within the next 24 hours.

Mohammed Nazzal, who is officially the Hamas representative to Jordan, said in Damascus that the group considers the UN resolution an ultimatum for the groups' "surrender" and will not accept it.

He said Hamas and its allies are fighting a battle to defend the Palestinian people.

"Who is attacking us," he asked?  "It is the Israelis ... And now they [the UN] are asking us, after all the spilt blood, to raise a white flag and surrender. So, we're not going to raise a white flag, and we're not going to surrender," said Nazzal.

Hamas leaders have repeated in recent days that an Egyptian peace plan for Gaza was "not an acceptable basis" for solving the current conflict. After sending a delegation to Cairo, Wednesday, they requested a delay of several days to consider it.

Nazzal refused to specify which parts of the Egyptian peace plan Hamas is rejecting, but said that the group would send another delegation to Cairo, within 24 hours, to discuss the group's "reservations" with the Egyptian plan.

"Hamas has been listening to its Egyptian brothers and had asked for several days to consult with its leadership, both in Gaza and outside, to discuss the Egyptian proposals. Now, after discussing things, we have a number of reservations, and we'll be sending a delegation to Cairo, hopefully on Saturday. That delegation will discuss our reservations with Egyptian officials. If the Egyptian peace plan is modified to coincide with Hamas reservations,  then we have no problems with it," he said.

Egyptian intelligence head, General Omar Suleiman, architect of a six-month truce between Israel and Hamas, last year, met with Israeli Defense Ministry envoy Amos Gilad, Thursday, after meeting with the Hamas delegation, Wednesday.

Israel reportedly wants to put an end to weapons smuggling through tunnels into Gaza from the Egyptian side of the border. Talk of sending an American military team to do that is reportedly unacceptable to both Egypt and Hamas.

The issue of re-opening border crossings into Gaza, which the Egyptian peace plan tackles in stages, remains a stumbling block, because Hamas insists that they be reopened immediately and unconditionally.

The issue of European Union monitors at Egypt's Rafah border crossing into Gaza is also a major bone of contention. Hamas has said it will consider all outside observers "hostile elements," while Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak insists that they must be deployed in Rafah before the border can be officially reopened.

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