Saturday, September 26, 2020

Negotiations continue in Cairo as a new 72-hour ceasefire holds in Gaza

August 11, 2014
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza Blockade] [Gaza] [UN] [ceasefire]

A second round of negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli delegations started this morning in Cairo after a three-day ceasefire came into effect Monday midnight local time. As of Monday afternoon, no reports of ceasefire violations have been reported on either side. 
Fighting continued up until last minutes before the ceasefire, with Palestinian factions claiming responsibility for several rockets, one of which was fired at Tel Aviv. Israel continued bombarding the Gaza Strip throughout Sunday evening.
On Monday morning, an Israeli delegation arrived to the Egyptian capital to continue the indirect talks for a permanent truce. Israel stated before that it would not negotiate under fire.
The Palestinian delegation, already in Cairo, told Egyptian mediators this would be the last chance to agree on a lasting ceasefire. One member of the delegation, Qays Abu Layla, said that during the last round of talks the Israelis sought only a return to the pre-war situation, according to Ma’an News Agency.
Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal insists that the Israeli blockade on Gaza must be lifted. The Palestinian delegation has also demanded the reconstruction of Gaza, the construction of a seaport and airport, the removal of Israel’s enlarged buffer zone, an enlargement of the enclaves fishing zone up to 12 nautical miles, and the release of re-arrested prisoners.
Palestinian Authority control over Gaza
The Egyptian initiative for a permanent ceasefire would mean the full return of Palestinian Authority control over Gaza. A Senior Hamas Spokesperson, Izzat al-Rishq, said Hamas accepted that the PA would be responsible for rebuilding Gaza and implementing any measures agreed upon by the two sides in Cairo.
Israel has demanded that PA take control of all the Gaza crossings. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that if the ongoing negotiations fail to produce a permanent ceasefire, the only option for Israel is to fully re-occupy the entire Gaza Strip, according to Al Jazeera.
Strategic Affairs Minister of Israel, Yuval Steinitz, stated that he hoped to achieve the disarmament of “Gaza militants” through diplomacy rather than through force.
UN official: “The blockade must be lifted”
As the truce went into effect Monday morning, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Palestinian territories, James Rawley, said that the blockade must be lifted to allow Gazans to trade with the outside world. He warned that continuing the siege would likely lead to repeated violence, Haaretz reported.
Turkey has offered to fly in medical patients from Gaza in groups of 40, a move that still has to be accepted at the truce negotiations in Cairo. Newly re-elected Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan confirmed the plan in his first speech after the elections. Four injured Gazans arrived to Ankara early on Monday.
The UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said he hoped that the current truce would give “another chance to agree on a durable ceasefire for the benefit of all civilian populations and a starting point to address the underlying grievances on both sides.”
The previously agreed upon 72-hour ceasefire fell apart due to renewed fighting on Friday morning of last week.


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