News / Middle East

Truce Holds in Gaza Ahead of Cairo Talks

Palestinians crowd a window for food aid at a United Nations distribution center in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, Aug. 6, 2014.
Palestinians crowd a window for food aid at a United Nations distribution center in the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, Aug. 6, 2014.
VOA News

A fragile, 72-hour cease-fire in the Gaza Strip held for a second day on Wednesday, as Israel and Hamas delegates prepare for talks in Cairo aimed at extending the truce.

Egypt's intelligence chief met a Palestinian delegation in Cairo, the state news agency MENA said, a day after he conferred with Israeli representatives. The Palestinian team, led by an official from Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party, includes envoys from Hamas and the Islamic Jihad group.

“The indirect talks between the Palestinians and Israelis are moving forward,” one Egyptian official said, making clear that the opposing sides were not meeting face to face. “It is still too early to talk about outcomes but we are optimistic.”

Egyptian and Palestinian sources said they expected later on Wednesday an initial response by Israel to Palestinian demands, which it has so far shown no sign of accepting.

The 72-hour cease-fire, which began early Tuesday, is the longest pause yet in the month of fighting that has killed more than 1,800 Palestinians, mostly civilians. Sixty-seven Israelis, including three civilians, have been killed.

Concessions necessary

 

Ahead of the Egyptian-brokered talks, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told British media that both sides need to make concessions.

 

Kerry said the U.S. supports giving more freedom to Palestinians in Gaza. But, he warned, this "must come with a greater responsibility towards Israel, which means giving up rockets," thousands of which Hamas has launched into Israel in the past few weeks.

Hamas has been pushing for Israel to end the blockade that has strangled Gaza's economy and prevented Palestinians from leaving the crowded, impoverished enclave.

However, Hamas, which seized the Gaza Strip from forces loyal to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, has ruled out giving up its weapons.

Israel said it is only willing to loosen its restrictions on Gaza if it receives assurances that Hamas will not be able to use that freedom to import rockets or other weapons.

“For Israel the most important issue is the issue of demilitarization. We must prevent Hamas from rearming, we must demilitarize the Gaza Strip,” Mark Regev, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told Reuters television.

Red Cross visit

The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross Peter Maurer visited an Israeli receiving treatment in hospital on Wednesday, before heading to the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mauer visited Natan Meoray, an Israeli teenager receiving treatment in Barzilai hospital from wounds sustained from a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip.  

Mauer said that in every conflict, young and innocent people are the ones most affected.    

“I visit a lot of hospitals and medical facilities on this and the other side of front lines all over the world and in all those hospitals you see same innocent victims who suffer, same parents - I am not going to make comparisons from one place to another place,” Mauer said from the Israeli southern city of Ashkelon.

He later headed to the West Bank city of Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian Authority, where he met Abbas.

Maurer visited the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, going to Shifa hospital, the main hospital in Gaza City that has been treating thousands of wounded civilians.

Tunnels destroyed

The Israeli army on Tuesday pulled its ground forces out of Gaza, saying it has successfully destroyed all of the 32 known tunnels Hamas has used to carry out cross-border attacks.

In Gaza, where about a half-million people have been displaced by a month of bloodshed, residents took advantage of the calm to visit shattered homes and stores, looking to salvage whatever is left of their lives. Many neighborhoods are unrecognizable piles of ruins.

Meanwhile, many Israelis are conflicted about the outcome of Israel's assault on Gaza. A poll by Haaretz newspaper on Wednesday suggested 51 percent of Israelis think neither Israel nor Hamas has won the conflict.

In New York, Jordan has circulated a Security Council resolution calling for a permanent cease-fire, lifting Israel's blockade of Gaza, and a global effort to rebuild the area.

Besides the loss of life, the war has cost both sides economically. Gaza faces a massive $6-billion price tag to rebuild devastated infrastructure. Israel has lost hundreds of millions of dollars in tourism and other sectors and fears cuts in overall economic growth this year as well.

Palestinian officials said a donor conference to raise funds for Gaza's reconstruction would be held in Oslo next month.

Also Wednesday, a delegation of Arab foreign ministers, including those of Egypt and Jordan, will visit Gaza "soon" in a show of support for Palestinians, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi told the French news Agency AFP.

The ministers will also assess reconstruction needs in the battered enclave after a nearly month-long war between Israel and Hamas, Arabi said.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AFP and AP.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, Texas
August 06, 2014 1:37 PM
The cease-fire in the aegis of president Sisi is welcome. Along with the UN, our friendly states and we Americans do whole-heartedly welcome this. After all, it's for the initial three days. But this cease-fire is a very risky one as further commotions between the Hamas and the Israeli side are forecast adhinc. For the sake of the lives of the Palestine people; for the sake of the Palestine statehood....... the militia groups like the Hamas, the Islamic Jehad, Al Aqsa brigade......... all that do necessiate to lay down their arms and politically stand as for a unitare national govt. and negotiate with Israel for getting back their lost territories;viz, West Bank and the Eastern Jerusalem. And, our friendly state Israel should remain as per the 1967 pre- Arab-Israeli war. ..........

But I do not believe it's possible for the Palestine radical organizations. Fomenting the catalyst for commotions, the Hamas has learnt the very consequences that's to emerge? And, the steps ahead of this three day truce, what're awaiting for both the warring sides that necessitate to be seen. The very cease-fire emerges for the commotion between the Hamas and Israel, the Hamas side had been the starter. Still the humanitarian conditions that the Hamas does keep forward that should be considered by the Israeli side. But the thing that matters most is - if such conditions of the Hamas side can be taken in bona fide fidens thereby clinically considering its security aspects of it........... After the Gaza blockade is lifted by Israel; what'er that're to reach Gaza for the civilians, the Hamas must not resort to its clandestine arms imports, spares even. Everything that should remain under the Israeli security checks; the added one is that of Egypt too. The essential humanitarian supplies to the Gaza strip from the hydro ports, entire corridor must remain under the security alert. ..........And, the Hamas must accept as the Gaza stip must stand as a completely demilitarized zone....... no piratical tunnels, no rocket depots, ..........

by: Ali baba from: new york
August 06, 2014 11:34 AM
This is not the end nor problem in the process to be solved. Both sides are failed to understand that Hamas has to stop violence and Israel should not act as a bully. The real victim are children and elderly who lost their as the result of irresponsible behaviors for both. Arab countries and Arab living in US have to stop supporting Hamas with money . second people have to give unconditional support for Israel. Israel is guilty as Hamas for crime against humanity . Israel please do not treat us as an idiot that Israel killed 1800 and ask 225 million dollars From USA .perhaps has the Jewish lobby as Muslim lobby can get what ever they want .What is a disgrace?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs