Egyptian-mediated Palestinian-Israeli ceasefire talks are “ongoing” but hitting various obstacles which could turn the current calm into a new round of confrontation. Palestinian official says reports of an additional ceasefire extension are baseless.Egyptian sources said that Israel presented several demands and preconditions for maintaining the ceasefire, topped by a central demand that calls for completely disarming the resistance in the Gaza Strip.
The sources added that Israel also expressed what was described as “reservations” over certain Palestinian demands, especially regarding establishing an international airport and seaport in the Gaza Strip, but reportedly agreed to “lift the siege on Gaza”, to release Palestinian detainees, and to allow the fishermen to fish in Palestinian waters without harassment and attacks.
Egypt is reportedly trying to convince Tel Aviv to drop their demand regarding the full disarmament of the Gaza Strip, and to agree to the rest of the demands, the Maan News Agency has reported.
The Egyptian mediators are currently trying to ensure extending the current temporary ceasefire, while the Israeli negotiators said they have to present the developments to their leadership in Tel Aviv before making any decision.
Israeli officials allege Tel Aviv is interesting in extending the ceasefire, and in holding further indirect talks with the resistance in Gaza through the Egyptian mediator.
Maan quoted Egyptian officials describing talks with the Israeli side as very difficult, especially since Tel Aviv insists of disarming the resistance.
Meanwhile, the head of the Palestinian delegation for truce talks in Cairo, Azzam al-Ahmad, said all reports regarding extending the truce are baseless, adding that such reports are meant to create obstacles in front the Egyptian and Palestinian delegations.
“There is nothing new regarding the truce, we all initially agreed on a 72-hour truce”, he said. “We have until Friday morning.”
The official added that some Israeli media outlets are making inaccurate reports which aim at obstructing and hindering the ongoing efforts of Palestinian negotiators and the Egyptian efforts to reach an acceptable agreement.
His comments came after Haaretz quoted an Israeli official stating that Israel agreed to extend the 72-hour temporary ceasefire as part of a deal brokered by Egypt, while Hamas said no agreement was reached, and the fighting could resume if Israel continues to ignore the Palestinian demands.
Israeli officials claim the army managed “to achieve its objectives”, allegedly after destroying “all known tunnels used by Hamas to breach the border and carry out attacks against the army”.
Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, asked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, on Wednesday, to support Israel in preventing the adoption of what he called “anti-Israel” UN Security Council resolutions.
On his part, senior political leader of the the Hamas movement, Ismael Haniyya, stated that “while Israel failed to achieve its goals by force during the war, it is demanding the resistance to surrender to its demands through politics”.
He added that Hamas stands behind the unified Palestinian team, and all political moves “especially the efforts of Egypt, Qatar and Turkey’, and that he believes “Arab and Egyptian brothers are working to ensure ending the Israeli siege on Gaza”.
“Our military victory leads to lifting this siege,” Haniyya said.
Various Palestinian political leaders said the Palestinian demands are legitimate, and are meant to end the illegitimate and deadly Israeli siege on Gaza, and to stop the Israeli violations and assaults.
In its latest report, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza said 1886 Palestinians were killed by Israeli missiles and shells in the Gaza Strip since July 8, and around 9806 Palestinians have been injured, dozens seriously.
It said the army killed 432 children, 243 women, 21 medics, and 85 elderly Palestinians, and injured 2979 children, 1903 women, and 374 elderly.