Palestinian negotiators to stay in Cairo for Arab League meeting on Gaza

Delegation previously said it was likely to abandon Egyptian-mediated talks unless Israel agreed to return to table without pre-conditions.

August 10, 2014 13:54
2 minute read.
Moussa Abu Marzouk

Deputy chairman of Hamas' political bureau Moussa Abu Marzouk during an interview in Cairo, August 9, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

CAIRO - Palestinian negotiators will remain in Cairo for an urgent meeting with the Arab League on Monday to discuss the Gaza crisis, Egypt's state MENA news agency said.

The Palestinian delegation had said it was likely to abandon Egyptian-mediated talks on Sunday unless Israel agreed to return to the table without pre-conditions.

Israel has said it will not take part in truce talks while violence is ongoing. Palestinian factions in Cairo for the negotiations declined to extend a 72-hour ceasefire that expired on Friday, saying Israel had refused to accept demands including an end to the blockade of Gaza and the opening of a seaport.

Earlier Sunday, Senior delegation member Moussa Abu Marzouk said the decision to leave Cairo would be made after a meeting on Sunday with Egyptian mediators, who have met separately with each party about at least three times this week.

Delegation head Azzam Ahmed told Al Arabiya television the Palestinian factions in Cairo for the negotiations would leave "if it is confirmed to us that (Israel) will not return except with conditions."

On Saturday night, senior Israeli diplomatic officials announced that they will not send a team back to Cairo to discuss a cease-fire until Hamas rocket fire ceases, and will respond forcefully to all Hamas attacks.

The officials said if there was a continuation of the rocket fire that began at 4 a.m on Friday, and intensified four hours later with the end of the 72-hour cease-fire, then Israel would consider “all options on the table” and was not limiting itself to striking back from the air.

The officials said the Israeli team that was in Cairo negotiating with the Egyptians over a longer-term deal returned to Israel at 7 a.m. on Friday when it became apparent that Hamas was not going to extend the cease-fire.

An Islamic Jihad spokesman responded to Israel's departure from Egypt negotiations. "If Israel does not comply with the conditions, then life will not go back to normal for the residents of the Gaza border communities."

Senior Hamas official Ismail Radwan said that the Palestinian delegation will not wait much longer before they retaliate.

Once the cease-fire formally ended, and Hamas fired rockets into Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon instructed the IDF to respond “forcefully.”

It was also made clear that Israel would not conduct any type of negotiations under fire.

Herb Keinon and Khaled Abu Toamehcontributed to this report.

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