Israel-Palestine Inching Towards Peace Deal; Gaza Ceasefire Extended
By Kalyan Kumar | August 14, 2014 12:34 PM EST
A peace deal between Israel and Palestine mediated by Egypt is inching towards a logical conclusion. To drive the talks to its fair conclusion, one more ceasefire has been declared in Gaza for five more days.
Protesters gesture during a protest near the Israeli embassy in Amman, calling for an end to Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip, July 15, 2014.
A statement by the Egyptian foreign ministry statement said the agreement to extend the ceasefire had been accepted by both sides in order to allow more time for negotiations.
Blockade May Go
Chief Palestinian negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed confirmed that the ceasefire would last for five days. According to an AFP report, the agreement between the warring sides is making some progress and has touched many contentious points. The main issue is lifting of the 8 -year old Israeli blockade on Gaza. This is the key demand of the 12-men Palestinian delegation.
Hamas leader Ihab al-Ghossein claimed that they are not making fresh demands, but only asking for the rights that include lifting the Gaza blockade, opening of the borders, implementing past agreements and release of prisoners.
One key Palestinian demand is the construction of a sea port and reopening of the airport, as agreed in the Oslo agreements, concluded some 20 years ago.
Netanyahu Talks to Obama
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday consulted US President Barack Obama on telephone. Ben Rhodes, Obama's foreign policy aide confirmed that the US President talked to Netanyahu from his vacation home on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. The White House in its statement had reaffirmed the U.S. support for Egypt's effort to mediate a lasting truce to the satisfaction of both the parties.
Israel Open for Fair Demands
Reports from Israel said Netanyahu held separate meetings with the hard line members of his coalition and shared the outlines of a deal. But Netanyahu has made it clear that the military operation named "Protective Edge" would continue until Israel gets peace and security.
Guardian quoted Daniel Nisman, a security analyst in Tel Aviv, saying that Israel was willing to address most of the Palestinian demands, except for the airport.
The Israeli military is of the view that discussion on sea port and airport can be taken up only in a comprehensive peace negotiation with the Palestinians at a later date and not now in Cairo.
Egypt is also reportedly planning to ease the curbs at its Rafah border with Gaza provided the Palestinian Authority forces loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas are deployed at the Gaza border with Israel.
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