Israeli Delegation Arrives In Cairo For New Ceasefire Talks: Sources

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Egyptian and Palestinian sources told Ahram Online on Wednesday that the Israeli delegation returned to Cairo on Wednesday morning to resume ceasefire talks.

The sources added that no changes took place in the formulation of the Israeli delegation, which comprises Isaac Molha, adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoram Cohen, chief of Shin Bet security agency and Amos Gilad, head of the political bureau at the defence ministry.

Possibilities of extending ceasefire and negotiations are currently being examined in case no deal is finalised, noted the sources.

According to Al-Ahram Arabic news website, the Israeli delegation left Cairo on Thursday in order to meet with the Israeli government and return with official responses over the issues tackled during the talks.

Azzam Al-Ahmed, a Fatah leading figure, warned that the “situation is extremely critical,” hoping that both sides could renew ceasefire before the end of the ongoing temporary truce that expires on Wednesday 2200 GMT.

Al-Ahmed, who is the head of the delegation currently in Cairo, said, “We will defend the interests of the Palestinian people,” Egypt’s state-run news agency MENA reported on Wednesday.

Deputy leader of Hamas’ political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, noted the “absence of results” and criticised the Israeli media for its coverage of the negotiations.

“The Palestinian delegation maintains its silence, and an overflow of news in the Israeli media; the underestimation of the situation on the Zionist side will lead to negative, expected results,” the delegation member tweeted early Wednesday.  Aiming to put an end for the month-long Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, the Egypt-sponsored negotiations have produced no deal between the Palestinian factions and Tel Aviv so far.

The Palestinian delegation officially presented its demands for a permanent ceasefire last week, including an immediate Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, halting airstrikes, lifting the Israeli blockade on the coastal strip and releasing Palestinian prisoners.

The headquarters of Egypt’s intelligence hosted a new round of indirect talks between the Palestinian and Israeli delegations on Monday, Al-Ahram Arabic news website reported on Monday. Al-Ahram stated that Cairo hopes to conclude a “permanent and comprehensive” ceasefire deal in the Gaza Strip to pave the way for the entrance of humanitarian aid and reconstructing the war-torn coastal enclave.

Last Friday, fighting started again in Gaza after an Egyptian-sponsored 72-hour ceasefire ended. Israel’s military claimed that a series of rockets were fired at Israel from the strip, renewing its air strikes against Gaza with Prime Minsiter Benjamin Netanyahu ordering troops to “retaliate forcefully.”

Attempting to keep the talks alive, Egyptian officials successfully managed to gain the approval of both sides concerning a new 72-hour ceasefire, beginning at 2100 GMT last Sunday.

Israel’s offensive on Gaza, which began on 8 July, led to the death of more than 1,930 Palestinians and the injury of more than 10,000 others. A total of 64 soldiers were also killed as well as three civilians on the Israeli side.

Source : Ahram online

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