Palestinian factions unanimously agree on main points of cease-fire deal, says official

Palestinian conditions said to include pullout of Israeli forces, ending blockade of Gaza, prisoner releases.

August 3, 2014 20:18
3 minute read.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal in Doha May 5,

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) shakes hands with Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal in Doha May 5, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The representatives of various Palestinian factions in Cairo for talks have reportedly agreed on a number of main points for a cease-fire with Israel regarding the fighting in Gaza.

Qais Abu Laila, a senior leader from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine who was in Cairo, said the different Palestinian factions had agreed on a unified list of conditions.

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"Cease-fire, the pullout of Israeli forces, ending the blockade, releasing the prisoners ... and starting the reconstruction process," he told Reuters by phone.

"There are details attached to each of these points and there will be a meeting soon with the Egyptian side to discuss the (Palestinian) paper," he said.

A delegation from Palestinian groups, including militant organizations Hamas and Islamic Jihad, met in Cairo on Sunday for cease-fire talks to be conducted through Egyptian officials, Egyptian and Palestinian sources said.

American and Egyptian officials conducting the negotiations were apparently pressing Israel to take part in diplomatic talks to end hostilities in Gaza.

On Saturday, Israel said it would not send envoys as scheduled, accusing Palestinian Islamists of misleading international mediators.

The document detailing the Palestinian conditions, which was drafted by representatives of Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups, called, among other things, for a cease-fire in return for an immediate Israeli pullout from the Gaza Strip, Palestinian sources said.

The document calls for an end to Israeli “incursions, invasions, assassinations, house shelling and flights over the Gaza Strip,” the sources told the Palestinian news agency Safa.

Palestinian demands include lifting the siege, reopening the border crossings, and allowing construction material into the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinians are also demanding free passage between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, freedom of fishing within 12 miles of the coast, reopening the Palestinian airport in the southern Gaza Strip, construction of a seaport and cancellation of buffer zones along the border with Israel.

The document calls for cancelling all measures taken by Israel following the abduction and killing of three Israeli youths in the West Bank in June, including the release of all former prisoners who were rounded up by the IDF since then.

The Palestinians are demanding that the Palestinian “national consensus” government, which was formed following the reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas last April, embark on the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip in cooperation with the United Nations. The document also calls for donor countries to hold an international conference to discuss providing financial aid for rebuilding the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian delegation, which is headed by Fatah leader Azzam al-Ahmed, arrived in Cairo on Saturday night. On Sunday, Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials - who are not from the Gaza Strip - also arrived in Cairo to join the delegation.

US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns and Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair also arrived in Cairo to participate in efforts to achieve a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

The discussions in Cairo are focusing on President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s cease-fire initiative, which was announced three weeks ago but was rejected by Hamas.

Egyptian sources said that Egypt is “flexible towards any details that the Palestinian factions would find appropriate to add to the initiative whether directly or indirectly, the Egyptian newspaper Ahram reported. “The Egyptian side explained many times in the past few days that the main aim is to put an end to the bloodshed in Gaza and end the severe conditions I which civilians there are living in,” the sources said.

According to the report, the negotiations that began on Sunday afternoon in Cairo would be held in three phases: reaching an agreement between the Palestinian factions concerning the Egyptian initiative, indirect negotiations with Israel through Egyptian mediators to reach a cease-fire or truce, and negotiating about the remaining matters, including the border crossings with the Gaza Strip. 

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