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Egypt brokering talks between Hamas and Israel on humanitarian issues
Published Tuesday 19/02/2013 (updated) 21/02/2013 17:55
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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – For the second time in a week, Israeli security officials visited Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials focusing on the ceasefire brokered by Egypt last year between Israel and the Palestinian factions operating in the Gaza Strip.

A high-level Hamas official told Ma’an that the ongoing Egypt-brokered negotiations between Israel and the Islamist movement do not address “political issues but rather pure humanitarian issues.”

He explained that the talks were meant to consolidate the ceasefire terms and highlighted that Israel has been violating these terms recently on a daily basis.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, dismissed claims that the ongoing talks were related to a comprehensive agreement upon which Israel could end Gaza blockade and open all crossings in exchange for demolishing all smuggling tunnels.

He highlighted that the Egypt authorities started to demolish tunnels unilaterally despite Hamas’ opposition. Hamas, he added, asked Egypt to provide alternatives on the ground to the underground tunnels. “However, the Egyptians are convinced that the tunnels are used to smuggle weapons, but that isn’t true,” added the official.

Asked about the daily announcements by the Egyptians about seizing weapons and explosives, he says there is exaggeration and misrepresentation by Egyptian media: “We control the tunnels and monitor everything that comes in and out.”

According to the source, Hamas submitted through the Egyptians a report about Israel’s violations of the ceasefire agreement in the northern and the southern Gaza Strip. The report also included incidents of shooting on Gaza fishermen, and requested entry of more goods into Gaza, he added.

Also Tuesday, Israeli sources reported that an agreement is being negotiated between Hamas and Israel upon which Israel will end the Gaza blockade in exchange for halting weapons to Hamas. Smuggling tunnels will also be demolished as part of the deal, according to the Israeli sources.

However senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahhar told reporters Tuesday that there are ongoing negotiations between the Egyptians and Israel. These negotiations are related only to the border crossings agreement, the hunger striking prisoners in Israeli jails, and getting Israel to comply with the ceasefire agreement signed last year.

“We are not negotiating core issues such as land and Jerusalem, but rather humanitarian issues,” he said.

Similarly, deputy chief of Hamas’ politburo Mousa Abu Marzouq denied there were indirect negotiations between a Hamas’ delegation and Israeli security officials through Egyptian officials.

“These are mere lies circulated by the Israelis,” he said.
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1 ) Something for Both / Or NO Deal
19/02/2013 22:14
Egypt should be brokering Real Peace talks, instead of another ceasefire, &
Egypt should be brokering Gaza Promises to never again rain rockets and mortars down on Israel's cities, towns, and villages, or to plan attacks against Israel's civilians, and without such PROMISES
Israel should NOT be discussing One-Sided humanitarian issues !!!

2 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
19/02/2013 23:34
A bullet barrier wall 50 meters high and with 25 meter foundations should be considered one of those humanitarian issues. it would allow use of farmland.It should be one meter from the current border fence inside Gaza. No sniper bullets in or out. Raise the siege at sea.

3 ) Outlier / USA
19/02/2013 23:54
Hamas needs to get over itself and do the right thing for the people it governs.

4 ) AKeenReader / UK
20/02/2013 10:35
Never trust any Israeli govt. They will continue to break agreements under a the banner of " security or terror" The example of prisoners recaptured under " Article 186 ". These Israelis should be taught a lesson that bullying doesn't work. Till such time US continue to side with them they will continue to act in this barbaric way towards the Palestinians and others around the world. The end is near!

5 ) @ Outlier-3 & Akeen-4 / USA too
20/02/2013 14:16
3- Hamas WILL do the right thing for ITSELF, keep the conflict going.
Fatah WILL do the right thing for ITSELF, keep the donations flowing in.
Israel WILL do the right thing for ITSELF, keep their Security !!!
4- You can "trust EVERY Israeli govt", and EVERY Hamas & Fatah,
do the above.

6 ) Outlier / USA
20/02/2013 19:35
5., Nice, but at its base, inaccurate. Hamas isn't Gaza. Fatah isn't the West Bank. However, Israel is Israel. The two formers are serving their organizations and NOT their people.

7 ) Yeshua Kadosh / heaven
20/02/2013 22:40
what ever you say or do;the world will pass away but my words will be accomplish even to the last letter and I will establish my Kingdom and restore Israel MY heritage

8 ) @ Outlier-6 / USA again
21/02/2013 18:09
You say that Hamas & Fatah are NOT be "Gaza and the West Bank",
because they are "serving their own organizations and NOT their people",
but you could say the same for almost every Arab government in the UN,
and the UN says that "Palestine" is a state, so it must have a government,
which means that both "Hamas IS Gaza", and "Fatah IS the West Bank",
and it the two ever reconcile, Palestine will have a Terrorist government, and thus be a Terrorist State !!!
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