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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Egypt officially postpones Israeli-Palestinian talks due to security situation

Israeli-Hamas negotiations team
(Image: Gaza Solidarity)
Egyptian government officially postponed negotiations between Israel, Palestine and Hamas to be held in Cairo and mediated by Egypt. This statement was made by Hamas spokesperson Fawzy Bahroum on Sunday 26 October, and was confirmed later by the Egyptian side as well.

The talks were scheduled to start on 27 October, Monday, and were aimed to discuss and to cement the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, reached after 51 days offensive in Gaza Strip, and to develop the further strategy and the peace talks.

These negotiations were planned to be held under Egyptian supervision and with Egyptian moderation, as Egypt traditionally plays an important role in the peace process in Israeli-Palestinian conflict and in the talks held between Israeli officials and Hamas, which is de fact the ruler of Gaza Strip. Both, Hamas and Israel, refuse to recognize each other and don’t hold any direct talks, using the mediators. Egypt played an important role in reaching the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas during the 2012 military operation in Gaza Strip and Egypt became also the mediator of the ceasefire agreement reached after the recent military offensive of Israel in Gaza, in August 2014.

The latest military offensive, Operation Protective Edge, launched by Israeli Defense Forces against Hamas in Gaza, lasted for 51 days and left more than 2200 Palestinians dead and thousands injured. Tens of thousands were forced to flee their homes. Infrastructure of Gaza appeared to be terribly destroyed. Israel in its turn has lost 63 people, most of them were servicemen.

Ceasefire agreement was reached between the sides on 26 August with an agreement to continue the talks regarding the conditions of the ceasefire, the further peace talks and demands to finally lift Gaza blockade and start its development. Cairo talks were aimed to discuss these issues.

Egyptian sources claim that the talks were postponed due to the current security situation in Egypt, where a massive military operation against jihadists and terrorists is ongoing in Northern Sinai, involving special troops and aircraft. The latest week was marked with the violent terrorist attacks against Egyptian soldiers and policemen and left nearly 40 servicemen dead. Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi has declared state of emergency in Sinai. 

Thus, Israeli-Hamas negotiations cannot be held under the current circumstances and were postponed. Though, the exact date for the talks to be held wasn’t specified, according to the Hamas officials.