Report: US, Egypt pressuring Israel to join Cairo cease-fire talks

ByYASSER OKBI/ MAARIV HASHAVUA
August 3, 2014 17:09

Senior Fatah official heading PA delegation to talks says he believes Israel will join talks in coming days.

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Abu Mazen

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas meets with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Doha. (photo credit:REUTERS)

American and Egyptian officials conducting negotiations for a cease-fire in Gaza are pressing Israel to take part in diplomatic talks to end hostilities in Gaza.

A delegation from Hamas and Islamic Jihad arrived in Cairo on Sunday for cease-fire talks to be conducted through Egyptian officials, Egyptian sources said.

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Truce talks would include Hamas's demand that Egypt ease movement across its border with blockaded Gaza. Israel said on Saturday it would not send envoys as scheduled, accusing enemy Palestinian Islamists of misleading international mediators.

"Israel's stance could change within the next few hours," a diplomatic source told Egyptian newspaper El Youm I-Saba on Sunday.

The source said that until Israel arrives,  the heads of Hamas, the Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian Authority, and Frank Lowenstein, a representative from the US State Department, will continue to meet.

Palestinian demands  included a cease-fire, a complete withdrawal of IDF soldiers from the Gaza Strip, adoption of conditions agreed upon in 2012 and an end to the blockade of Gaza, including from the buffer zone, and the release of prisoners held by Israel, especially those that were already supposed to be released after the Schalit deal.

The head of the Palestinian delegation to the talks , senior Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmed, said that he believes Israel will join the talks in the coming days.

Senior Hamas official Izzat a-Rishak said that the organization would not agree to hold its fire while Israeli troops remain in Gaza.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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