World Bulletin/News Desk
Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal arrived in Kuwait from Qatar on Sunday for talks on reaching a ceasefire between Palestinian factions and Israel in the Gaza Strip, a diplomatic source said.
Meshaal will hold talks with Kuwaiti officials on the situation in the Gaza Strip, which has been reeling under relentless Israeli attacks since July 7, the source told Anadolu Agency.
According to the source, Kuwait has not presented any ceasefire proposal and that it is abided by an Egyptian proposal for truce in the Palestinian territory.
Last week, Egypt issued a ceasefire proposal, which called on Israel to cease all hostilities in the Gaza Strip, halt all ground operations and refrain from targeting civilians, according to an Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement.
It also called on Palestinian resistance factions to cease hostilities against Israel, halt rocket fire and cross-border attacks and stop targeting civilians.
The overture further calls for reopening Gaza's closed border crossings and facilitating the movement of persons and goods in and out of the embattled coastal strip, "once the security situation becomes stable on the ground."
While Israel initially accepted the plan, the Egyptian proposal was rejected by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which said they were never consulted to discuss the plan's terms.
The two groups also asserted that the Egyptian initiative failed to address core demands of the Palestinian resistance.
Abbas in Qatar
Qatar will also host a meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday to try to reach a ceasefire agreement with Israel to bring an end to 12 days of warfare, a senior Qatari source told Reuters.
Due to take place in Doha, the meeting will be headed by the Gulf state's emir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, who has been acting as a "channel of communication" between Hamas and the international community, said the senior source familiar with the matter.
A U.N. statement said that Ban will be traveling to the Middle East over the weekend "to express solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians and to help them, in coordination with regional and international actors, to end the violence and find a way forward".
Western diplomatic sources see Qatar as a strategic player in reaching an effective ceasefire deal as the wealthy Gulf state plays host to a large number of exiled leaders from across the Middle East, including Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal.
The senior Qatari source added that Abbas is also due to hold talks with Meshaal following his meeting with the United Nations chief.
A high-profile Egyptian diplomatic source denied that Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal had been invited to Cairo for talks on an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire between Palestinian factions and Israel in the Gaza Strip.
"Egypt has not invited any Hamas leader to visit Cairo," the source told Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity.
On July 7, Israel launched a major military offensive on the Gaza Strip – home to some 1.8 million Palestinians – with the ostensible aim of halting Palestinian rocket fire.
On Thursday night, Israel stepped up its offensive to include ground operations inside the embattled coastal territory.
At least 346 Palestinians have been killed – and nearly 2560 injured, many seriously – in unrelenting airstrikes on the blockaded Gaza Strip since Israel's operation began, according to Gaza health officials.
Gaza-based resistance factions, meanwhile, have continued to lob rockets at Israel – some of which have reached Tel Aviv – in response to deadly airstrikes that continued on Friday.
Since hostilities began 13 days ago, five Israelis, including three troops, have been killed.
Israel's military offensive, dubbed "Operation Protective Edge," is the self-proclaimed Jewish state's third major assault on the Gaza Strip in the last six years.Last Mod: 20 Temmuz 2014, 14:53