Palestine-Israel talks resume in Cairo, Abbas adheres to ceasefire proposal
Senior Hamas official and delegation leader Moussa Abu Marzouk (R) talks with Fatah official and delegation leader Azzam Ahmed (C) as they arrive at a hotel after negotiations in Cairo - REUTERS/Asmaa Waguih
By SAMAR SAMIR

CAIRO: Both Israeli and Palestinian delegations resumed indirect talks in Cairo on Sunday to reach an agreement on a permanent ceasefire.

Head of the Palestinian Delegation, which includes representatives from Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, Azzam al-Ahmad announced late Wednesday a five-day truce between both sides. He said it was to give a chance to reach a permanent ceasefire agreement and to put an end to the ongoing conflict that started early July.

The conflict left 1,951 Palestinians killed, including around 470 children, 245 women, and 88 seniors. More than 10,000 people were injured, including more than 3,000 children, around 1,970 women, and 368 seniors, Palestinian Ministry of Health spokesperson Ashraf al-Qedra announced Wednesday. Qedra said the numbers of deaths increase every day, reaching 1,961 on Saturday.

Three Israeli civilians and 67 soldiers were killed during the conflict, the Israeli Army announced.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees announced Sunday that over 225,000 people are taking refuge in schools in Gaza and that the public health disaster is looming.

In his speech at the opening meeting of the Palestinian Leadership in Ramallah, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said there is no alternative to Egypt’s proposal of a ceasefire.

“We still adhere to Egypt’s proposal and we still adhere to Egypt, who is not a mediator but a part of the negotiations … we will not accept any other alternative,” his speech was aired on Sky News Arabia Saturday.

A donor conference for Palestinians is scheduled in Egypt early September, Abbas added and called for all countries worldwide to participate, especially Arab countries to offer fast aid.

Abbas said Egypt’s Sharm el-Sheikh hosted a donor conference to the reconstruction of Gaza in 2009, which did not give concrete result in the long run for the Palestinian people. But he hopes the current situations will be different than the situations in the 2008/2009 and 2012 conflicts.

Hamas member spokesperson Abu Mosa al-Marzouki said in a statement Saturday the movement could reach an agreement in the meeting if their three demands are met: putting an end to the Israeli offensive, lifting the blockade on Gaza Strip, and reconstruction.

In the proposal, Israel demands include demilitarizing Hamas, Haaretz newspaper reported Sunday morning. The Israeli Strategic and Intelligence Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said that his country will not cede on Gaza demilitarization.

The latest Israeli raids on Gaza began July 1, a day after Israel found the bodies of three kidnapped settlers in the West Bank. The body of Palestinian Mohamed Abo Khodeir, 16, was found mutilated and burned, in what is widely seen as a revenge killing for the death of the Israelis. Hamas started launching rockets into Israel in its latest campaign on July 4.

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