Abbas: Israel Must Accept Egyptian Plan to End Gaza Fighting

The Palestinian Authority president urged both Israel and Hamas to agree to an Egypt-brokered truce Saturday, but he singled out the Jewish state, saying it would be responsible for a "waterfall of blood" if it didn't accept the deal.

Mahmoud Abbas is in Cairo Saturday for talks with Egyptian officials on a truce to end the fighting in the Gaza Strip, now in its 15th day. In a news conference Saturday in Cairo after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Mahmoud Abbas also stressed that there was no time to waste in ending the bloodshed in Gaza, home to 1.4 million people.

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"If any party does not accept it (the truce), regrettably it will be the one bearing the responsibility, and if Israel doesn't want to accept, it will take the responsibility of perpetuating a waterfall of blood," Abbas said.

The Palestinian leader also said he hopes the militant group Hamas, which controls Gaza, will be able to reach an agreement to end the fighting, without "hesitation." Abbas said that so far, he has not heard any serious reservations from Hamas on the Egyptian proposal.

Hamas officials from both Gaza and Syria are also in Cairo for separate talks with Egyptian officials on truce. Israeli officials visited Cairo earlier this week.

Hamas and Abbas's Fatah party, which is dominant in the West Bank, are fierce political rivals. Hamas violently took over control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, and the Palestinian Authority has no control or power in the coastal strip.

So far, more than 750 Palestinians and 13 Israelis have died since the fighting began.

Abbas said that there is no time to lose in implementing a peace deal and said that the Egyptian proposal, put forward earlier this week by Mubarak at a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, is the only way forward.

Israel launched its offensive Dec. 27 in response to cross-border rocket attacks by the Islamic group Hamas — which the United States and Israel consider a terrorist organization and whose charter calls for the destruction of the state of Israel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.