The Palestinian organization Fatah has joined the militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad in formally announcing an immediate three-month suspension of attacks against Israel.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization joined in the ceasefire today (Sunday), hours after the other two groups made their announcements.
Israeli officials voiced almost immediate skepticism about the truce, with Israei finance minister and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu saying dozens of terror alerts still exist in Israel. But he said he hopes the truce sticks.
Despite the misgivings, Israel is expected to begin pulling out of the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun early Monday. Palestinian officials and Israel's coordinator in the occupied territories agreed to the pullout Friday.
A Palestinian statement said the truce was conditional on what it called "a total cessation of Israeli aggression," including Israeli military incursions in the occupied territories.
The statement also demanded the lifting of the ongoing siege of Mr. Arafat's presidential compound in Ramallah.
The developments came after two days of intense diplomacy by visiting U-S National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. President Bush dispatched Ms. Rice to the region to pressure both sides to move forward with the road map peace plan aimed at ending nearly three years of Israeli-Palestinian violence.