Three remaining members of a Palestinian delegation attempting to negotiate a longer truce between combatants in Gaza entered Egypt through Rafah crossing, on Tuesday, according to MENA state news.Ma’an News Agency has reported that a joint Palestinian negotiating team representing the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Islamic Jihad has been in Cairo, for several days now. The delegates who left for Egypt today were Khaled al-Batsh, Khalil al-Haya and Emad El-Elmy.
Israel had earlier refused to take part in the negotiations, but an official has said that a representative team was also on its way to Cairo. Israel has withdrawn troops from the Gaza Strip after a temporary truce, brokered by Cairo officials, went into effect at 8 am this morning.
The main demands being presented by the Palestinian delegation are a ceasefire, a withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza, the end of the ongoing siege in the region, and the opening of its border crossings.
Fishing rights of up to 12 nautical miles off the Gaza coast and the release of Palestinian prisoners are also key to Palestinian demands.
Meanwhile, Ma’an further reports that Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Maliki, met with officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Netherlands, on Tuesday, for the purpose of discussing the necessary legal procedures for joining the ICC and signing the Rome Statute, in order that action might be taken against Israeli war crimes in Gaza.
A 2009 attempt to join the ICC in 2009 failed because of Palestine’s lack of statehood.
However, Al-Maliki said Tuesday that Palestine should now quality for membership, as it currently holds status as a UN nonmember observer state, according to AP.
Israel does not hold membership with the ICC, let alone recognize its authority.
In related politcal news, British minister Sayeeda Warsi, of the Foreign Office and minister for faith and communities, has officially resigned from her position over the government’s policy on Gaza.
The Baroness posted on her Twitter account: ‘With deep regret I have this morning written to the Prime Minister & tendered my resignation. I can no longer support Govt policy on #Gaza.’
PM David Cameron’s government has drawn much criticism over its stance on Gaza, in days past, including from London Mayor Boris Johnson and Labour Party leader Ed Miliband.
Christopher Carlson is a full-time student of Religious Studies at Mount Mercy University, USA. He has been with the IMEMC since 2013. (firstname.lastname@example.org)