News / Middle East

Egypt Gives Palestinian Cease-fire Demands to Israel

Mideast Israel PalestiniansPalestinians salvage what they can of their belongings from the rubble of their destroyed apartment in a building hit by an Israeli strike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 4, 2014.
Mideast Israel PalestiniansPalestinians salvage what they can of their belongings from the rubble of their destroyed apartment in a building hit by an Israeli strike in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Aug. 4, 2014.

Egypt presented Palestinian demands to Israel on Monday as part of efforts to mediate a cease-fire in Gaza which could pave the way for negotiations to end more than three weeks of fighting, an Egyptian source said.

Palestinian groups including envoys of Hamas and Islamic Jihad held their first formal meeting with the head of Egyptian intelligence in Cairo on Monday, focusing on a joint list of demands presented by Palestinian factions.

Those demands included a cease-fire, the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the lifting of a blockade, the release of prisoners and the start of a reconstruction process, delegation members have said.

The talks began at noon local time (0900 GMT) and lasted at least two hours, but it was not clear how quickly mediation efforts could progress after Israel declined to send envoys as planned.

Awaiting response

An Egyptian source said Cairo was pushing for an extended cease-fire to allow talks to continue.

“We are now awaiting the Israeli response,” the source said.

A Palestinian official affiliated with one of the militant factions said a temporary cease-fire would open the door to more comprehensive negotiations.

“Should Israel agree to the 72-hour cease-fire, Egypt would invite Israel to send a delegation to Cairo to conduct indirect negotiations with the Palestinian delegation over all issues,” he said. Another Palestinian official said there had been talk of a potential 7-day cease-fire.

Egypt has positioned itself as a mediator in successive Gaza conflicts but, like Israel, it opposes Hamas and has struggled to seal a deal to end the latest fighting.

Media speculation that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns would fly to Egypt to participate in indirect truce talks had not been borne out by Monday.

A U.S. embassy spokesman declined to say if or when Burns might arrive. A U.S. official in Washington said acting special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations Frank Lowenstein was on his way back from Cairo, suggesting the United States was following the talks closely.

A U.S.- and U.N.-brokered cease-fire broke down within two hours on Friday, with Israel and Hamas trading blame.

Hamas demands

A Hamas source in Doha said the group would not lay down arms unless Palestinian conditions were met.

Qatar, a backer of Hamas, has stayed out of the Egypt talks, but has continued consultations with Turkey and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry aimed at finding an end to the crisis should Egypt fail, a Gulf source and the Hamas official in Doha said.

Israel has begun to wind down its offensive, saying the army had completed the main objective of the ground assault, the destruction of cross-border infiltration tunnels from Gaza.

Cairo might contemplate easing the limited freedom of movement across its own border with Gaza, but was unlikely to accept Palestinian calls to allow a normal flow of trade, Egyptian diplomatic sources said.

Egypt insists that any discussion over the Rafah border crossing take place bilaterally with the Palestinian Authority rather than as part of any overall deal between the Palestinians and Israel to ease the blockade, the sources said.

Israel began aerial and naval bombardment of Gaza on July 8 after what it said was a surge of cross-border rocket salvoes by Hamas and others. It later sent in ground forces.

Gaza officials say 1,804 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed and more than a quarter of its 1.8 million residents have been displaced. Israel has confirmed that 64 soldiers have died in combat, while Palestinian shelling has killed three civilians in Israel.

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Comment Sorting
by: Nihal El-Sayed from: Singapore
August 08, 2014 5:25 AM
Bravo for our country – Egypt is acting as the third party to stop extremism and terrorism in the region! For Western media who are skeptical of Egypt’s actions against the muslim brotherhood, I would say the US has done the same thing, if not more strict. Bravo Sisi!

by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
August 05, 2014 5:30 AM
The three day truce under the auspices of Egypt is humanitarianly welcome. But for the furtherance of it, a lot remain to be done. The very objective of Israel is to demilitarize the Gaza strip. While the Hamas keeps its conditionalities forward for a durable cease-fire, would that accept the same of Israel ........ to disarm completely as the Hamas militia is not the national defense of the Palestne state???? Certainly, instead of demilitarizing Gaza, it would behove well to completely disarm
all the militia along with the Hamas as no further Israeli-Palestnian war to take place adhinc. Over the disputed, occupied territories like the West Bank and the Eastern Jerusalem that the Palestinians should get that they can succeed in engaging in the constructive dialouge process with Israel.
In Response

by: Faiyaz Ahmed S M from: india
August 06, 2014 5:39 AM
What's the guarantee that Israel will play a fair game? As a goodwill gesture, will it put a freeze on the settlements? I don't approve of Hamas tactics but for all the nonviolent resistance by Palestinian Authority, what has Abbas got? Peanuts. Gaza was blockaded for 7 years - vegetables, food, water, medicines - everything was rationed? Does one know that Intra venous saline fluids were not allowed to be brought in? Can Israel explain why? Do you know Israel does not permit more than the allotted quota of baby food to be brought in even if the annual quota gets used in 6 months? The list is too long to be mentioned here. The fact is given Israel's atrocities, even Mohandas Gandhi would have lost faith in nonviolence and ahimsa.

by: G.A. Najar from: india
August 05, 2014 2:17 AM
The blood of children killed in Gaza flows in the vicinity of the Lord of universe, who heard their shrieks and assured them of Justice.

by: Frank from: Paris
August 04, 2014 2:37 PM
Israel will never let the Palestinian ppl go. For one simple reason, never an occupation in history has ended through talks. Nazis never would have let them go, unless forced by barrel of a gun. So will the children or Israel.
In Response

by: Anonymous
August 04, 2014 6:03 PM
Okay,d so called Israel should keep killing and socking their blood as their favorite drink.

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 04, 2014 1:47 PM
Very unfortunate Israel will accept anything other than a complete disarmament and demilitarization of Gaza for a cease fire. Hamas has vowed Israel should not exist, so allowing it remain potent with ability to rebuild and strike at Israel is absolutely unacceptable. Maybe Benjamin Netanyahu is not as strong as he has been reasoned to be. Maybe also he has not been able to decipher the mindset of a diplomatic world expecting that he does the right thing now to end the belligerency once and fall time to be able to return peace to the region which has suffered chronically from incessant Hamas uprisings. Maybe Netanyahu is leaving the uncompleted assignment so as to have reason to continue to deny further peace negotiations with the Palestinians who cannot move forward while Hamas remains a threat to Israel and to its rival faction in the West Bank. But it will be suicidal to accede to Hamas conditionalities for the ceasefire - even the least of them - as they must have at least implicit Hamas traps.

by: Kay Salicornia from: USA
August 04, 2014 12:20 PM
And Israel helped the creation of Hamas in the hope of overshadowing PLO (and other secular Palestinian forces - same way Israel helped arming the Ayatollahs against Saddam Hussein). Now, Frankenstein has to deal with the monsters it has helped to create. But as the story goes, nobody felt sorry for Frankenstein, and in the end, Frankenstein and the monster destroyed each other. For the curious and also for the deniers, look up Hamas history in Wikipedia or just google it.
In Response

by: Luke from: England
August 04, 2014 8:43 PM
Godwin, you realise that Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian soil. England created the state of Israel... I can understand the logic at the time, but now it seems that it may not have been such a great idea.
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 04, 2014 2:04 PM
And you think for whatever reason Israel put its money in the venture, it's not working? You're wrong. For all you know, Israel has used Hamas to stage-manage the delay in the creation of a Palestinian state. Israel knows the land belongs to it and there is no need to share it with anybody. Has there not been a Hamas, Israel would not have a reason to fight to get it back from the Palestine Organization, hence the other side has softened up and Israel would be foolish to fight with a side that has thrown in the towel. Negotiation would have released the land since to the Palestinians. So wisen up, Israel still has all the aces.

by: meanbill from: USA
August 04, 2014 10:56 AM
IT WON'T END, as long as the US keeps funding the Israeli war with the Palestinians, (because), the arrogant Israeli's will never negotiate in good faith with the Palestinians, (because), the Israeli's will sit back in safety out of range, and massacre the Palestinians at a safe distance, (because), all the bullets, missiles, rockets, and bombs the Israeli use, are paid for, and replaced by the US taxpayers, (and), the US Congress just gave 225 million more taxpayer dollars to replace the Iron Dome missiles Israel used against the Hamas rockets....

The US paid for all the bullets, missiles, rockets, and bombs the Israeli's used to kill the Palestinian Arab civilians, and will pay for replacing those the Israeli's used, so they can kill more Palestinians?..... CRAZY isn't it?.... If the US didn't give Israel the money to buy their weapons, bullets, missiles, rockets, and bombs, all those Palestinian civilians being killed, wouldn't be, would they?..... billions of US taxpayer money, and Netanyahu told Obama what?
In Response

by: Godwin from: Nigeria
August 04, 2014 1:55 PM
Where were you on September 11, 2001? You're still loving the activities of terrorists, are you not? See what your brothers are doing in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Pakistan. You must be loving those things and regret it's not happening to Israel - the only civilized country in the Mideast. Well it's not about to happen. For once the US is getting it right to put its money in the right pot. Good luck and kudos, the American Congress.

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