Egypt, Qatar formulate ceasefire draft as Gaza hostilities continue
As hostilities between the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip and Israel continued on day 5 of Israel's Operation Protective Edge, talk of an emerging formula for a ceasefire began to be heard.
Various Arabic media outlets reported on Saturday that the ceasefire was being devised at the initiative of the Palestinians with Egypt and Qatar's involvement, according to a Channel Two report. According to the report, Hamas refused to confirm that a framework existed upon which a ceasefire could be reached, but did confirm that contacts were being made towards this end.
Israel has not confirmed that ceasefire talks were taking place.
The Turkish Anadolu news agency reported on Saturday that Middle East Quartet Envoy Tony Blair met Saturday with President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in Cairo to discuss ways to restore a 2012 Cairo-brokered ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.
A diplomatic source said Saturday that Sisi agreed with Blair "on the necessity of halting military escalation" in Gaza, Anadolu reported.
Islamic Jihad deputy head Ziad al-Nakhaleh said Saturday that there was no serious talk about a truce and that they were just rumors.
Reports differed on what would be included in a ceasefire agreement but some claimed it would include the release of Palestinian prisoners, opening the crossings into Gaza, and transferring funds to Gaza, Channel Two reported.
Head of Meretz Zehava Gal-On on Saturday urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to involve Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in any effort to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.
"Israel has an interest that there be a strong stable regime in Gaza, to prevent a power vacuum if Hamas collapses which would create an opening for more extremists elements like The Islamic Jihad and others," Gal-On said at a cultural event in Kfar Saba.
"Because Abu Mazen (Abbas) has the ability to speak directly with the Hamas, using him with Egypt's backing, will bring about a ceasefire and will strengthen Abbas and his standing both in the West Bank and in Gaza.