Cairo hosts intensive ceasefire talks between Hamas, Israel
Egypt's General Intelligence apparatus mediates intensive ceasefire talks aimed at halting Gaza carnage; Sources close to negotiations expect agreement within next 48 hours
, Sunday 18 Nov 2012
A Palestinian walks past a burning house after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City (Photo: Reuters)
Three-way talks aimed at reaching a truce in Gaza are ongoing between Egypt, Israel and Palestinian resistance faction Hamas, according to Egyptian diplomatic sources.
An Israeli negotiating team arrived in Cairo for talks on Sunday. Egypt's General Intelligence apparatus is mediating the talks between the Israeli team and a Hamas delegation, both of which are staying at different locations in the Egyptian capital.
According to Israeli journalist Jacki Khouri, who spoke to Ahram Online from from Tel Aviv, Israel expects its negotiators to return with a final truce agreement.
Cairo sources, however, say negotiations remain inconclusive, with considerable push-and-pull between the two antagonists. Israel, according to these sources, insists that Hamas and other Palestinian resistance factions stop launching missiles into its territory, and for Hamas to desist from receiving arms from abroad.
Hamas, for its part, has so far rejected the second stipulation, insisting that Israel should first halt its frequent bombings and assassinations of Palestinian leaders in the Gaza Strip. Hamas argues that, since Israel began the current round of violence, it should be the first to implement a ceasefire.
In an interview with satellite television channel Al-Arabiya on Sunday evening, Moussa Abu-Marzouk, deputy chief of Hamas' politburo, declared the group's rejection of Israel's twin demands.
But a source close to the negotiations told Ahram Online that he expected a truce agreement to be concluded within the next 48 hours. Washington, he said, was intensely involved in the talks, and may offer guarantees of Israel’s commitment to the agreement, albeit not in written form.