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Sunday, August 24, 2014

Egypt and Palestine reached an agreement regarding the future peace talks amid continuous Israeli strikes against Gaza and Hamas shelling Israeli territory

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President
Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during their meeting in Cairo
(Image: Times of Israel)
After the nine days ceasefire reached between Israel and Hamas in Gaza and mediated by Egypt was broken at the beginning of this week, Israeli Defense Forces resumed their attacks and strikes against the “terrorist targets” and Hamas militant’s facilities in Gaza, as Hamas in its turn continues shelling Israeli territory on a daily basis.

Nearly 90 people in Gaza were killed since the ceasefire was broken, most of them civilians of Gaza. There was also one Israeli child among the victims. At least 10 people were killed in Gaza due to the Israeli military strikes on Saturday, 23 August, and at least 4 people were killed on Sunday, 24 August, despite the efforts to hold the peace talks and to reach an agreement about the new ceasefire.

The death toll in Gaza has risen to nearly 2105 people since the beginning of the Israeli Operation Protective Edge, launched on the 8th July. Most of the killed people are civilians, among them nearly 500 children, according the UN estimations. The death toll in Israel reached the number of 68, though most of the victims were soldiers. Tens of thousands were injured and at least 460 000 residents of Gaza were forced to flee their homes and remain displaced. 
Gaza is on the verge of a real humanitarian catastrophe now.

Meanwhile, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly urged the residents of Gaza living in the areas where the Hamas and Islamic Jihad fighters are operating, to evacuate due to the planned strikes, the peace talks efforts and attempts to resolve the crisis diplomatically are ongoing, with Egypt continuing playing a role of a mediator.

Thus, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has arrived in Cairo again for two days, meeting with Egyptian President and discussing the ceasefire proposal plan and the possibilities of the future peace talks between all the sides. Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi have reached an agreement regarding this issue, what was stated during their recent press conference. Egypt in its turn continues its efforts to resolve the crisis with the diplomatic means, stated Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry.

It was stated that Egyptian ceasefire initiatives were welcomed and accepted by the world powers and by the Palestinian political factions as well. Mr. Abbas declared that he is ready to resume the peace talks with Hamas and Israel after the ceasefire will be declared. Palestinian leaders also stressed that the main Palestinian concern at the current stage is to end the bloodshed in Gaza and then to provide humanitarian aid for the people of the besieged enclave.

Mahmoud Abbas had also the meetings with several Arab leaders including the leaders of Qatar and the officials from the Arab League. He also praised the role of Egypt in the current crisis resolving and supported its ceasefire proposals. He added also that Hamas doesn’t mind the role of Egypt in the talks and is ready for cooperation, so the sides have called for the continuation of the negotiations after the ceasefire agreement will be reached. Egypt in its turn called on the sides to implement the open ceasefire and to allow the talks to be held.

As for the Israeli side, Israeli Minister of Defense Moshe Yaalon has stated recently that Israel is also interested in the ceasefire and in the future peace talks. But Israel insists on the necessity of the guarantees of security for the citizens of Israel. Meanwhile Hamas demands lifting of Gaza blockade, opening the borders and opening of Gaza airport and seaport as well.

Thus, the sides declared their readiness for the talks and the possibility of the ceasefire, and the talks are expected to be held in the nearest future with the mediation of Egypt and the assistance of other regional powers. Though either Israel or Hamas demonstrates not so much breadiness for such a step at the current stage, as the mutual attacks are ongoing.