Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says that his country’s participation in Egyptian-brokered talks to consolidate a Gaza ceasefire is aimed at bolstering Israeli security — not a peace deal with Palestinians.’These are negotiations on security issues, not peace negotiations,’ Netanyahu recently told Israel Hayom publication, according to AFP.

‘I was careful to ensure that this delegation focuses solely on security. I did not include my peace envoy, attorney Yitzhak Molcho, and none of the (cabinet) ministers.’

An open-ended ceasefire between Israel and Hamas came into effect on August 26, following 50 days of devastation which ended the lives of nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 73 on the Israeli side, mostly soldiers.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met with Egyptian mediators, this Tuesday, to briefly discuss the terms of a broader truce before resuming talks scheduled for late October.

The Prime Minister said that Israel would consider demands for the opening of a sea and air port in Gaza only if the group agreed to lay down its arms, a condition it has repeatedly rejected.

‘When Gaza is demilitarized and abandons the goal of destroying Israel, we are open to considering anything,’ he told the Jerusalem Post.

‘The real issue is whether we can ensure Israel’s vital security interests, and enable the reconstruction of Gaza and humanitarian assistance under our security requirements. That, I think, will be the focus of what will be discussed, and certainly the focus of our current policies.’

Photo: Palestinian girls walk past buildings destroyed by Israeli strikes
on their way to school in the Shuja’eyyah neighborhood of Gaza City
on September 14, 2014.(AFP/File Mahmud Hams)