The peace parleys between Israel and Hamas militants collapsed on Tuesday, botching high expectations on a deal. In the resumed hostilities, Palestinian militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel, and Israel retaliated with airstrikes across the Gaza Strip and killed two Palestinians.
The Reuters reported that Israel formally pulled out of the talks in Egypt after accusing the Gaza Islamists of breaking the truce. All the Israeli negotiators have been asked to leave Cairo. Announcing the withdrawal of the Israeli team from Cairo, spokesman Mark Regev said the rocket fire from Gaza violated all terms of the negotiations.
The Cairo talks were based on the premise of a total cessation of hostilities, he noted. When Hamas broke the ceasefire, they also broke the premise for the Cairo talks. Regev refused to confirm whether the team would return to Cairo, or Israel would resume ceasefire talks.
Heavy violence marked the last hours of the temporary ceasefire. According to an AP report, Palestinian officials confirmed Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. The reported also quoted Palestinian medical official Ashraf al-Kidra who said a 40-year-old woman and a 2-year-old girl were killed in the Israeli action. In another air strike, Israel hit the building that housed the Al Aqsa TV station of Hamas.
The Egyptian compromise proposal had easing of blockade as a core point, followed by gradual opening of the Gaza territory's air and seaports.
Though the Egyptian plan does not require Hamas to disarm, it wanted induction of forces loyal to West-backed President Mahmoud Abbas, who was ousted by Hamas in Gaza. The hope was that the presence of Abbas would tone down the friction with Israel and more international aid will flow into Gaza for its reconstruction.
The main demand of Hamas was the immediate lifting of the 7-year old Israeli-Egyptian blockade that was making life miserable in Gaza. But Israel wants total disarming of Hamas.
Rockets Hit Israel
Israeli officials reported 20 rocket attacks on its territory late on Tuesday, including the one that set off air raid sirens in Tel Aviv. No injuries or casualties had been reported. Meanwhile, the Civil Defense Authority of Israel ordered the reopening of all public bomb shelters within 80 kilometres radius of Gaza.