Truce talks to resume after Muslim feast

Palestinian sources said they expected a truce agreement to be announced immediately after the four-day feast.

August 18, 2018 19:15
2 minute read.
Truce talks to resume after Muslim feast

Head of Hamas delegation Saleh Arouri and Fatah leader Azzam Ahmad sign a reconciliation deal in Cairo, Egypt, October 12, 2017.. (photo credit: REUTERS/AMR ABDALLAH DALSH)

Palestinian factions are scheduled to resume their discussions concerning a truce with Israel after the four-day Eid al-Adha feast, which begins on Tuesday, Hamas officials said on Saturday.

Palestinian sources said they expected a truce agreement to be announced immediately after the Muslim holiday. According to the sources, “the last few days witnessed significant progress” in attempts made by the Egyptians and other parties to persuade the Palestinian factions to agree to a truce with Israel.

Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya told reporters in the Gaza Strip on Friday that the truce talks, which are taking place in Cairo, are in the “final stretch.”

Last week, Egypt summoned representatives of several Gaza-based factions, including Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the second largest terrorist group in the coastal enclave, to Cairo for talks on a cease-fire with Israel and ways of ending the Hamas-Fatah power struggle.

Hamas is working to ensure the success of the Egyptian efforts to achieve a truce “and end the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip,” al-Hayya said.

According to al-Hayya, the Palestinian factions that met in Cairo during the past week have reached agreement on the “vision of reconciliation [between Hamas and Fatah], calm [with Israel], ending the siege on the Gaza Strip, and paving the way for carrying out humanitarian projects in the Gaza Strip.”

The Hamas official said his movement and other Palestinian factions tried to convince Palestinians to halt launching incendiary kites and balloons to enable the success of efforts to achieve calm along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

“We don’t want to give an excuse to some inside the Israeli entity and some regional parties that want the siege on the Gaza Strip to continue,” al-Hayya added.

The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi daily reported on Saturday that the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate, Abbas Kamel, who paid a secret visit to Israel last week, “came back with good Israeli answers to several issues, including a sea passage for goods to the Gaza Strip.”

Meanwhile, PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat criticized Hamas for holding indirect negotiations with Israel over a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. He said any deal between Hamas and Israel would form the basis for US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East.

Erekat told the Palestinian Authority’s Voice of Palestine radio station that Trump’s unseen plan was aimed at “destroying the Palestinian national project.” The PLO, he argued, was the only party authorized to reach any deal over a cease-fire with Israel.
Erekat warned any agreement between a Palestinian faction and Israel would solidify the state of division between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.‭‮

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