Palestinians says Gaza truce extended five days

The Palestinian negotiators are studying a framework agreement proposed by the Egyptian intermediaries that includes proposals for opening Gaza crossings; guaranteeing the flow of humanitarian aid to the besieged coastal enclave; the reconstruction of bombed-out Gaza; paying the salaries of Gaza's civil servants, and expanding the fishing area off Gaza's coast.

Palestinians says Gaza truce extended five days

World Bulletin / News Desk

Israel and Palestinian factions agreed on Wednesday to extend a three-day Gaza truce by an additional 72 hours, a Palestinian official with knowledge of the negotiations in Cairo told Reuters.

"Factions agreed to extend the 72-hour truce for an extended period of three days," the official said, the sides reaching a deal within minutes of the expiration of the latest ceasefire that halted fighting on Monday. Israel had no immediate comment.

Palestinian resistance faction Hamas has denied any rocket fire at Israel on Wednesday ahead of the expiry of a temporary ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas' armed wing has not fired any rockets at Israel on Wednesday," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a brief press release.

Israeli army earlier claimed that a Palestinian rocket had been fired from the Gaza Strip at the southern Hof Ashkelon regional council.

A Palestinian official with knowledge of the negotiations said earlier that Egypt had presented a new proposal for a permanent truce agreement that addressed a major Palestinian demand for a lifting of the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of the Gaza Strip.

Azzam Ahmed, an official of the mainstream Fatah party who heads the Palestinian team in Cairo, said the negotiations were at a very sensitive stage and it hoped to reach a ceasefire agreement before the current truce runs out.

Egyptian and Palestinian sources said Israel had tentatively agreed to allow some supplies into the Gaza Stripand relax curbs on the cross-border movement of people and goods, subject to certain conditions. They did not elaborate, and in Israel, officials remained silent on the state of the talks.

A Palestinian demand for a Gaza seaport and reconstruction of an airport destroyed in previous conflicts with Israel has also been a stumbling block, with the Jewish state citing security reasons for opposing their operation.

But the Palestinian official said Egypt had proposed that a discussion of that issue be delayed for a month after the long-term ceasefire deal takes hold. 

As part of the Egyptian blueprint, Israel would expand fishing limits it imposes on Gaza fishermen to six miles (10 km) from the usual three-mile offshore zone.

"It will increase gradually to no less than 12 miles in coordination between the Palestinian Authority and Israel," the official said, referring to a likely expanded role in Gaza affairs for the government of Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas, based in areas of the West Bank not occupied by Israel.

In addition, the official said, the Egyptian plan calls for reducing the size of a "no-go" area for Palestinians on the Gaza side of the border from 300 metres (yards) to 100 metres so that local farmers can recover plots lost to security crackdowns.

A Palestinian official said the Palestinian delegation had agreed that reconstruction in Gaza should be carried out by a unity government of technocrats set up in June by Hamas and Abbas's Fatah party.

The two sides are not meeting face-to-face in Cairo. But the official said once they inform Egypt of their agreement, a ceasefire accord could be signed the same day.

At least 1944 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, mostly troops, have been killed since Israel unleashed its latest military offensive against the blockaded Gaza Strip.

The heavy losses among civilians and the destruction of thousands of homes in Gaza, where the United Nations said 425,000 of 1.8 million population have been displaced by the war, have stoked international alarm.

On Tuesday, Moussa Abu MarzoukHamas's leader in Cairo, described the negotiations as "difficult". An Israeli official, who declined to be identified, said no progress had been made.

Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon, speaking on Tuesday, told Israel's armed forces to prepare for a possible resumption of fighting. A previous 72-hour ceasefire last week expired without a longer-term deal.

The sources said if an agreement is reached, there will be Egyptian and American guarantees for Israel's abidance by the terms of the deal.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 15 Ağustos 2014, 16:57