Unified Palestinian delegation presents demands for Gaza negotiations
A top-level Palestinian source confirmed on Sunday that representatives of Palestinian factions have agreed on a single list of demands to be discussed in Cairo during talks to end Israel's offensive on the Gaza Strip.
The source, who is currently attending the Cairo talks and preferred to remain anonymous, spoke about the demands that were circulating on social media and several news websites late Sunday.
The required demands for a ceasefire include the following:
- The immediate Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and halting of airstrikes.
- Lifting the economic blockade and opening the border crossings.
- Securing the entrance of goods, all requirements of reconstruction and freedom of movement.
- Guaranteeing the existence of a connection between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
- Re-opening of the Gaza airport and establishing a seaport.
- Lifting the Israeli-imposed no-go zone near the Gaza border fence.
- Ending all punitive measures on the Palestinian people in the West Bank after 12 June 2014, which includes:
1) Opening institutions and restoring confiscated public and private properties.
2) Ending aggression against Palestinians by Israeli settlers.
3) Releasing members of the Palestinian Legislative Council and re-arrested prisoners.
Further demands include:
- Reconstruction of the Gaza Strip through cooperation between the Palestinian unity government and the United Nations and delivery of humanitarian aid to Palestinians including food, water and medicine and the immediate re-opening of power plants.
- Holding an international donors' conference under the leadership of Norway and joined by European, Arab and Islamic states as well as the United States, Turkey, Japan, Russia, China and the rest of UN member-states.
- The aim is to provide the needed finances for re-building the strip according to a specific time plan.
Members of the Palestinian delegation, headed by Azzam Al-Ahmed of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, include Ezzat Al-Rashq, Mohamed Nasr and Mousa Abou Marzouk of Hamas, Ziyad Nakhala of Islamic Jihad, Quis Abdel-Kareem of the Democratic Front, Maher Al-Taher of the Popular Front and Bassam Al-Salehi of the People's Party, in addition to Maged Farag, head of Palestinian intelligence.
Other Hamas and Jihad representatives who were supposed to arrive in Egypt from Gaza failed to come for security reasons.
Preliminary meetings were supposed to start Sunday afternoon, sources from the delegation told Ahram Online, in which the Palestinian factions would discuss the Egyptian initiative and try to reach a common perspective.
Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi said on Saturday that there was "no alternative" to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire talks to curb the violence in Gaza, affirming that the Egyptian initiative was still on-going and capable of solving the crisis.
Almost 1,800 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza and another 9,320 wounded since the start of the Israeli offensive on 8 July. Figures released by the UN humanitarian agency OCHA on 2 August gave a total of 1,525 dead.
Of the 1,196 killed whose identities could be verified, 1,033 were civilians, nearly 84 percent, OCHA said. The number includes 329 children and 187 women. Of the Palestinians killed, 191 were members of armed groups.
On the other side, 66 Israelis have been killed, including 64 soldiers, all of whom have died since the ground offensive began.