Palestinians, Israelis to resume peace talks in Cairo
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators are set to resume indirect talks in Cairo Sunday to reach a permanent ceasefire before the current short-term truce expires, AFP reports.
Egyptian mediators had previously persuaded both sides to reach a temporary five-day ceasefire Wednesday, allowing more time to secure a longer-term solution to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
The current ceasefire was violated by both sides – rocket fire from Hamas and a continuation of Israeli air strikes, although it did hold by the weekend, according to AFP.
Egyptian officials called for a lasting ceasefire by Monday in a document addressing delicate issues such as lifting the Israeli blockade along with demands for an airport and seaport in Gaza.
Palestinian Authority security teams were also suggested to gradually take control of a buffer zone between Gaza and Israel.
The European Union welcomed the talks but called on “all terrorist groups” in the Gaza Strip to disarm.
Israel’s foreign ministry said: “Commitment to the principle of demilitarization, to be implemented by an effective mechanism, will ensure a fundamental change of the situation.”
Head of the Palestinian delegation in Egypt, Azzam al-Ahmad, said Saturday he was “optimistic” a long-term agreement for peace could be reached.
“We have high hopes of reaching an agreement very soon, before the end of the truce, and perhaps, even very quickly, for a permanent ceasefire,” he told AFP.
The Gaza death toll has risen to 1,980, many of them civilians, since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge on July 8.