Israel, not Palestine, pulled out of Cairo talks

Published August 21st, 2014 - 12:45 GMT

Ziyad Nakhala, leading member of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, told Ahram Online on Thursday that Israel's delegation – and not the Palestinian one – withdrew from the Cairo talks that sought to reach an end to the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.

 In a phone conversation, Nakhala – also a member of the Palestinian negotiating team – asserted the willingness of the Palestinian delegation to return to the "negotiating table" under Egyptian mediation.

"Cairo will push for a new round of talks whenever it thinks it's necessary, but we will positively respond if invited and are fully ready," said Nakhala, speaking from Beirut.

He asserted that all parties within the Palestinian delegation – including the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO), Hamas and Islamic Jihad – have agreed on the Egyptian initiative and also praised Egypt's "great efforts" in mediating between the Palestinian factions and Israel.

The deputy secretary-general of the Islamic movement stated that the talks mainly involved issues of ending the eight-year Israeli blockade on Gaza, facilitating the reconstruction of the war-torn strip.

"Israel did not properly meet the Palestinian demands as it rejected discussing the subjects of constructing an airport and seaport in Gaza, despite them being previously agreed upon during the 1993 Oslo Accords," mentioned Nakhala.

Nakhala argued that Israel is "not serious and keeps maneuvering in an attempt to gain time."

"This is not a problem for us, we have enough time to resist as long as the Israeli aggression continues," he concluded.

He said that Tel Aviv wants to preserve the blockade – a situation that he described as creating tension.

An informed Palestinian source in the Gaza Strip told Ahram Online that Israel broke the last temporary ceasefire in its final hours by falsely claiming the launching of rockets from Gaza against the major southern city of Beersheba.

Israel and Palestinian factions blamed each other for the collapse of an Egyptian-sponsored 24-hour truce late on Tuesday, which led to the resumption of the armed conflict.

Egypt previously brokered two 72-hour truce agreements and a five-day ceasefire in a bid to allow more time for negotiators from both sides to reach common ground.

In a press statement issued Wednesday morning, Egypt's foreign ministry expressed "deep regret" over the resumption of armed confrontations between both sides in Gaza.

Cairo warned that the new clashes would "definitely lead to more casualties and injuries among innocent civilians."

"Egypt maintains its bilateral connections with both Palestinian and Israeli sides to urge them to accomplish a new ceasefire deal and continue their positive involvement in the negotiations," the statement said, stressing the importance of building on what has been achieved in the indirect talks so far.

At least 2,058 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, mostly soldiers, have been killed since Israel's offensive on Gaza began on 8 July.

© Copyright Al-Ahram Publishing House

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