News / Middle East

    Israel: No Truce Deal Till Long-term Security Needs Met

    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Aug. 17, 2014.
    Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, Aug. 17, 2014.
    VOA News

    Israel warned on Sunday it would not accept any long-term truce deal that did not meet its security needs as Gaza cease-fire talks resumed in Cairo.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking before Israel's weekly Cabinet meeting on Sunday, said that Hamas had suffered a huge setback in the four-week war and that would be reflected at the Cairo talks.

    "If Hamas thinks that by continuing the sporadic shootings (of rockets at Israel) it will make us agree to concessions, it is mistaken," Netanyahu said.

    The negotiations between Israel and Hamas have been going on since early last week. 

    The aim is to broker a long-term arrangement to halt over a month of bloody fighting, which erupted on July 8 and has so far claimed 1,980 Palestinians lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

    Threat of renewed fighting

    Netanyahu also said he was undeterred by Hamas' warnings of renewed fighting in the Gaza war, pledging Israel would hold fast to its security needs in indirect talks with the Palestinians in Cairo.

    Netanyahu promised “harsh strikes” if Hamas fighters renewed their attacks on Israel.

    “The Israeli delegation to Cairo from the first day, is working under very clear instructions: To stand steadfast on Israel's security needs. Only if there will be a clear solution for our security needs, only then will we be prepared to come to understandings,” Netanyahu said.

    “If Hamas thinks that it can compensate for its military defeat with diplomatic gains, it is mistaken. If Hamas thinks that through continued intermittent firing it will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken," he added.

    Commenting on Netanyahu's remarks, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said: “The only way to achieve security is to afford security to the Palestinians first and to lift the blockade and to agree to their demands.”

    Hamas rejected on Saturday as insufficient offers made in Cairo to Palestinian negotiators seeking to end Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip, and raised the possibility of renewed fighting when the current truce expires at midnight (2100 GMT) Monday.

    Hamas, Gaza's dominant Islamist group, wants an eight-year-old Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the coastal enclave lifted, as well as the establishment of a seaport and airport, as part of any enduring cessation of hostilities with the Jewish state.

    Palestinian lawmaker Mustafa Barghouti said, "The Palestinian side still demands a real lifting of the siege.

    "What is proposed is not enough yet, what we need is a complete elimination of the siege and this can only be achieved if there is an independent port and an independent passage internationally protected and internationally guaranteed that Israel can not interfere with," Barghouti said.

    Talks in Egypt

    The talks began Sunday afternoon at the headquarters of the Egyptian intelligence in the absence of four officials from Gaza, among them representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who were expected to arrive during the evening.

    It was the first time they had sat down since Wednesday after the negotiators returned home for three-days of consultations with their respective political masters.

    Both sides say gaps remain in reaching a long-term deal that would keep the peace between Israel and militant groups in Gaza, and open the way for reconstruction aid to reach the battered enclave.

    Israel wants the disarmament of Hamas in the territory of 1.8 million people.

    The Palestinian demand for a Gaza seaport and reconstruction of an airport destroyed in previous conflicts with Israel has been a stumbling block, with Israel citing security reasons for opposing their operation.

    “The demilitarization of Gaza which was already guaranteed in the Oslo agreement, that there will be no rocket no missile whatsoever in Gaza, should be on the table again. Otherwise a seaport or an airport without commitment for demilitarization is like a duty free for rockets and missiles,” said Yuval Steinitz, Israeli intelligence and strategic affairs minister.

    Some conditions met

    Israel said it is willing to ease the blockade but not lift it completely, fearing that Gaza could be flooded with weapons. Hamas, on the other hand, said it will never agree to Israel’s demand to give up the armed struggle.

    Therefore, Egypt is pushing for an open-ended cease-fire, to give negotiators more time to hammer out a long-term agreement.

    Israeli Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, a member of Netanyahu's security cabinet, said Israel was examining the Egyptian proposal as a whole and had yet to make any final decision.

    The Gaza offensive has had broad public support in Israel, where militants' rockets, many of them intercepted by the Iron Dome anti-missile system, have disrupted everyday life but caused little damage and few casualties.

    Robert Berger contributed to this report from Jerusalem. Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

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    Comments page of 2
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    by: Tadek from: Bangkok
    August 18, 2014 7:39 PM
    Netanyahu keeps Israelis ignorant of his massive destruction in Gaza and wanton killing of Palestinian innocents. His relentless and indiscriminate bombardment recall Hitler 's treatment of Warsaw in 1939. His policy of ghettoising Gaza results in Hamas' resistance and apparently
    creates his excuse for action.
    Anyone with access to independent news reports sees clearly
    this "final solution" approach that may clear the way for new settlements in Gaza.

    by: Mike Stand
    August 18, 2014 8:00 AM
    Hamas is the ISIL, except Israel has a military that can do what neither Syria or Iraq can do. Political Islam will be kept at bay in Gaza, despite of what the world says.

    by: eusebio manuel pecurto from: Portugal
    August 18, 2014 6:12 AM
    International community stop the War Palestine and Israel

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    August 18, 2014 5:36 AM
    There has been what I would like to refer to as over pampering of both the situation and Hamas in these negotiations. But this is also not the first time to hear Benjamin Netanyahu issue tough warnings to Hamas how harsh the consequences of further Hamas attacks might be, and nothing more than kid glove treatment came out of it. He should assure us if his “Harsh Strike” will be a total inclusive strike on Gaza this time around that can force both the UN agency there and everybody else to evacuate.

    I just read about ISIS operation in northern Iraq that sacked over 1.5million people – little less than whole population of Gaza – and yet the whole world has not gone up in smoke, Saudi Arabia has not called an islamist jihad, nor have Europe, USA or anybody else said anything about a world war. Instead those who have said anything appear to suggest allowing ISIS a state it has carved out for itself there, no army raised, no weapon supplied while IS fighters continue their foray of abductions, mayhem, forced conversion and conscription.

    Israel is not going to do all that, but can apply harsh, preemptive, total inclusive strikes that will force everybody in the place to evacuate. 1.2million Gazans can evacuate in a few shiploads while Hamas 0.6million soldiers can wait behind and fight to the last drop of its blood. Sure the world will not end if Israel truly takes a harsh aim at Gaza. If the Arabs wish, they can re-enact the 1967 6-day war, though this time it will include all muslims.

    Israel should hold unto the Oslo agreement on Gaza demilitarization. Once again Hamas continues to reveal the crack in the Palestinian arrangement which should make it easy for Israel to defeat it and delight the PLO and the Arab League despite the frustration by Saudi Foreign Minister more from Israel’s failure to destroy Hamas than the supposed support he touted on the surface. But from Hamas standpoint, the only solution for Israel’s peace is destruction of Hamas, hence a militarized Gaza is a mortal/existential threat to Israel, peace or no peace.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    August 18, 2014 2:30 AM
    Israel has every right to protect itself from those terrorists. Palestinians must not habour, support those terrorists in order to stop the bloodshed. You must say NO to terrorists. Russia strongly believe in the sincerity for peace of Israel.

    by: Anthonybellchambers from: London
    August 18, 2014 2:27 AM
    No Gaza airport, no Ben Gurion airport. No Gaza seaport, no Haifa seaport. Simple. Seven years of oppression and lockdown of 2 million indigenous people is enough. Israel does not own the Middle East - nor does the US congress!

    by: andishmand from: afghanistan
    August 18, 2014 1:37 AM
    it is a shame for those who claim to be pro human rights and mentions this as the topic of their seize and deceive nations by these kinda pledges.
    these are like double dealer wolves
    (western leaders
    ) who wage war behind the stage and claims rights of equally before the face of the world they should know that no one is listening them as all know the mask men.

    by: Sudhama from: USA
    August 18, 2014 12:49 AM
    Miko Peled is a former IDF special forces soldier, his father was an Israeli general and his grandfather was a signer of Israel's declaration of independence. He is about as far from an anti-Semite or self-hating Jew as you could get. Miko says, “To criticize Israel, to criticize Zionism, there's this fear that somebody might might bring out the word 'anti-Semite'.
    “Or somebody might, God forbid, remind us of the holocaust, and we can't deal with that, therefore we will allow Israel to continue with its crimes, to continue with the oppression, to continue imprisoning thousands of political prisoners, because we cannot deal with this issue of anti-Semitism and be reminded of the holocaust. Even though the claim of anti-Semitism, when we talk about criticizing Israel is complete nonsense.
    “There's nothing anti-Semitic about criticizing Israel. In fact there's countless Jewish people that criticize Israel all the time. Jews from the very beginning rejected this idea of Zionism, and most Jews don't live there anyway. But there's this fear, God forbid they will call us anti-Semitic. [...] There is no issue of anti-Semitism when we criticize Israel. It's nonsense, the only reason the anti-Semitism card is played is because they have nothing else to say.” Why would they care if it was an uninhabited pile of rocks? It does not make you anti-Semitic or a self-hating Jew to disagree with what Israel is doing, just a person of compassion, with a conscience and with a good heart.

    by: scott sorrell from: louisiana
    August 17, 2014 4:29 PM
    So the war criminal says no long-term deal until security guarantees are met by the Palestinians ...

    How about Israel stop expanding their illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem? How about Israel live up to the terms of all their peace deals brokered by the Americans? How about Israel commit to no longer committing war crimes, as in 2008-09 and currently? How about Israel stop taking US taxpayer dollars to commit these war crimes? How about AIPAC stopping their endless assault on US representation with their campaign dollars and threats? It is a very sad commentary when a foreign prime minister visits the US, and gets invited to speak to Congress, and then speaks about the "indefensible" nature of the 1967 borders, in conflict with the stated US position and agreed-upon Israeli commitments, and the speaker, Natanyahu, gets 31 standing ovations, by our Congress. The whole spectacle was a slap in the face of the US Presidential position (Obama, Bush, and Clinton) and our Congress applauded with slavish servitude the new stance of the Israeli government. How can that be, without the disproportionate influence of AIPAC? Can any rational thinker explain this to me? And don't say "fighting terrorism" because the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians the exact same things they did long before Hamas won political positions in 2006!
    Let's just keep giving them more money to commit their war crimes and other violations of international law...


    by: Ken from: Patel
    August 17, 2014 4:10 PM
    Israeli prime Minister should be a bit more human, pragmatic and understanding. When you occupy someone's land, destroy their lives by any and all means and use brutal force at whims why would you expect them to accept you as people or country. Only way to have lasting peace is by returning their land, granting them total freedom, lifting "economic embargo" and help them to build up their economic infrastructure as we in USA have done for you! Yes there is other way too...,,,equalize military capability between Israel and Gaza.
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