Fatah official Azzam al-Ahmad (L) and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Gaza cease-fire negotiations involving the Palestinian factions will commence sometime in the middle of this week, Palestinian sources told the Saudi newspaper Asharq al-Awsat on Sunday.
According to the report, the Egyptian-mediated talks are expected to conclude within the month with a new agreement on a range of issues, including the possible construction of an airport and a seaport in Gaza as well as the handing over of the bodies of IDF troops killed in action in Gaza, including Hadar Goldin and Shaul Oron.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to consult with Arab League foreign ministers on the sidelines of the organization's conference next month. Abbas is also expected to meet with Egyptian mediators to discuss the cease-fire talks.
The report in Asharq al-Awsat
was not confirmed by any other source, and there is no mention of whether Israeli negotiators will take part in the talks.
This past weekend, Hamas political bureau official Moussa Abu Marzouk said no date has been established for a resumption of negotiations. Hamas officials were awaiting an official invitation from Cairo, Abu Marzouk said.
"The cease-fire agreement is not supposed to end at the end of the one-month period," said Hamas spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhri. Instead, the cease-fire talks are supposed to resume by the end of the month, with security calm continuing beyond this period.
The Palestinian Authority announced on Sunday its intention to rent homes for families whose houses were completely destroyed during Operation Protective Edge.
Rami Hamdallah, prime minister of the Palestinian “national consensus” government, said the PA would also do its utmost, with the help of international relief organizations, to rebuild destroyed houses in the Gaza Strip.
He added that the PA would also secure temporary houses and tents for displaced families.
The priority would be to repair the damage done to the electricity network, water wells, sewage systems, and schools, as well as meeting the needs of medial centers and hospitals in the Gaza Strip, Hamdallah said during a meeting with representatives of international relief organizations in Ramallah.
Meanwhile, the crisis over the salaries of Hamas employees in the Gaza Strip has resurfaced following the war.
A spokesman for the “national consensus” government said last weekend that the Hamas employees would receive down payments and not full salaries.
Hamas has more than 40,000 employees, including security personnel, who have not received full salaries for the past nine months.
Hamas was hoping that the new government, headed by Hamdallah, would pay the salaries.
However, the government has refused to pay, arguing that this is Hamas’ responsibility.
Tens of thousands of former PA civil servants living in the Gaza Strip have continued to receive full salaries from the government, although most of them have not been working since Hamas took control of the area in 2007.
The decision to pay down payments only to Hamas employees sparked a wave of protests in the Gaza Strip.
Before the war, Hamas supporters attacked several Gaza banks and forced them to close temporarily after discovering that the Palestinian Authority had no intention of paying their salaries despite the reconciliation agreement between Hamas and Fatah.
The Hamas employees said on Sunday that they would renew their protests against the Hamdallah government if their demands are not met.