Friday, 6th March 2015

Palestinians, Israel agree more 5-day ceasefire

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The Palestinian and Israeli delegations in Cairo agreed late Wednesday night to a further 5-day ceasefire for their ongoing conflict in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Egyptian official MENA news agency reported.

It is the third time for Egypt, after intensified indirect talks in Cairo, to broker a ceasefire between the armed Palestinian movement Hamas and Israel since the Israeli offensive on Gaza started on July 8.

The outgoing 72-hour truce mediated by Egypt started on Monday and was supposed to expire a few minutes later, before the latest 5-day truce is reached.

The recent Israeli offensive on the Palestinian restive enclave, which lasted for more than one month, has left more than 1,950 Palestinians killed and about 10,200 wounded, while Hamas attacks killed 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians.

The Palestinian conditions for a permanent truce, most of which are declined by Israel, include lifting the Israeli 7-year-long blockade against the Strip, opening the border crossings, releasing Palestinian prisoners agreed-upon with Israel in a previous prisoner swap, allowing establishment of a seaport and an airport in Gaza and holding an international donor conference for Gaza reconstruction.

"The Palestinian delegation will reject any negligence of its legitimate demands," Fatah member Azzam al-Ahmed, head of the Palestinian delegation, told reporters Wednesday night in Cairo.

With regards to Rafah border crossing, Ahmed said it was not included in the indirect negotiations between the Palestinians and Israel "because it is an Egyptian-Palestinian affair," adding that there is understanding between the Palestinian and the Egyptian sides about the crossing issue.

On the other hand, Israel rejects the idea of building a seaport and airport in Gaza at present and demands a demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and the disarming of Hamas, a demand the Palestinian movement vehemently objects.

Israel is interested in having the Palestinian Authority in charge of the passages into and out of Gaza.

Egypt managed to reach a long-term truce between Hamas and Israel in late 2012 during the one-year rule of ousted Islamist President Mohamed Morsi. CAIRO, Aug. 13 (Xinhua)



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