An Islamic Jihad militant attends an anti-Israel rally in Rafah..
Hamas and Islamic Jihad representatives headed to Cairo on Monday to participate in indirect cease-fire talks with Israel, which are scheduled to begin on Tuesday.
The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said the “exploratory talks” are aimed at reaching permanent understandings and agreements” between the Palestinians and Israel.
The Hamas delegation consists of Mahmoud Zahar, Khalil al-Hayeh, and Musa Abu Marzouk, while the Islamic Jihad team is headed by Khaled al-Batsh and Nafez Azzam.
Fatah leaders Azzam al-Ahmed and Jibril Rajoub are also scheduled to participate in the talks.
Zahar told reporters at the Rafah border crossing that the Cairo talks are aimed at “achieving the Palestinian demands and consolidating the cease-fire.”
He said that the Palestinian delegation would focus on the need to lift the blockade on the Gaza Strip and setting an agenda for future talks with Israel.
Another Hamas official, Salah Bardaweel, said that the real cease-fire talks with Israel would begin after the four-day Muslim feast of Id al-Adha, which begins in the first week of October. He said that Tuesday’s talks would focus on setting the agenda for the indirect discussions with Israel.
The Egyptians are also hoping to seize the opportunity of the presence of Hamas and Fatah leaders in Cairo to try to ease the tensions between the two parties.
Under the auspices of Egyptian intelligence officials, Hamas and Fatah representatives are expected to meet before the resumption of the cease-fire talks in yet another bid to end the dispute between them.
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