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Israel, Palestinian factions agree to 72-hour ceasefire
Published Monday 04/08/2014 (updated) 06/08/2014 11:24
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The sun sets over Gaza at the Israeli border on August 4, 2014
(AFP/Jack Guez)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian factions and Israel have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire starting from 8 a.m. on Tuesday, sources close to talks in Egypt said Monday.

"Egypt's contacts with relevant parties have achieved a commitment for a 72-hour truce in Gaza starting from 0500 GMT tomorrow morning, and an agreement for the rest of the relevant delegations to come to Cairo to conduct further negotiations," a senior official in Egypt told AFP.

"The Palestinians have agreed to a ceasefire proposed by Egypt," Azzam al-Ahmed, leader of the Palestinian delegation, told reporters in Cairo.

Earlier, sources close to the talks told Ma'an that Palestinian factions agreed to a three-day ceasefire which they said is likely to pave the way for a full cessation to fighting.

Representatives from Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, held their first official meeting on Monday after a Palestinian delegation agreed Sunday to joint demands to present to Egyptian mediators.

"There is a consensus among all the Palestinian factions that Gaza can't return to a blockade ... it is a natural right of the people of Gaza to live (freely) as any other people in the world," senior Hamas official, and member of the Palestinian delegation, Ezzat al-Rishq, said.

Azzam al-Ahmed also expressed hope that Israel may still send a team to Cairo.

This could help "Egypt perform its role in halting the (Israeli) aggression and achieving the Palestinian demands through negotiations it is conducting with the two sides," he told reporters.

On Sunday, Palestinian factions agreed on "a ceasefire; Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza; the end of the siege of Gaza and opening its border crossings," said Maher al-Taher, a member of the delegation.

The Palestinian demands also include fishing rights up to 12 nautical miles off Gaza's coast and the release of Palestinian prisoners demanded by Hamas and Abbas, said Taher, a senior official with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Cairo, a traditional broker in Palestinian-Israeli conflicts, has moved to isolate Hamas on its eastern border after the Egyptian military overthrew the Islamist government last year.

Israel's assault on Gaza has killed over 1,800 Palestinians, far surpassing the death toll in Operation Cast Lead.

AFP contributed to this report
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1 ) kafantaris / USA
04/08/2014 22:16
“Heavy artillery shelling into a populated area would be inherently indiscriminate. You just can’t aim that weapon precisely enough in that environment because it’s so destructive.” -- Bill Van Esveld, Human Rights Watch lawyer investigating war crimes.

2 ) ALI / USA
04/08/2014 23:26
why ceasefire? so everybody can rearm??? finish it already

3 ) JoeFattal / USA
04/08/2014 23:46
@1) Israel should have gone into Gaza from the beginning to take Hamas out if they wanted to do it. But they rather use their heavy airstrikes and their artllery knowing very well they will inflict that many casualties in the civilian population. Even the US said they could have found a better way to do it without inflicting that many casualties. But again Israel was not too interested to take Hamas completely out, they went after the civilians to demoralize them and put them against Hamas.

4 ) Rafael / USA
04/08/2014 23:55
Hamas has fired rockets from every civilian area in Gaza. When people yell at Israel for killing civilians accidentally while trying suppress Hamas they are actually encouraging Hamas to continue these actions which get civilians killed. Israel's artillery shells are state of the art and are precise weapons so the Human Rights Watch lawyer is speaking to make hi predetermined anti-Israel bias come true instead of speaking from knowledge what Israel is doing.

5 ) Rondo Mondo / Canada
05/08/2014 00:14
It looks like the Palestinian resistance folded and accepted the unconditional cease fire which Israel offered to accept 3 weeks ago. Hamas caused the death of so many Palestinians by their insane demands and actions. And yet Abbas seeks an unity government with these idiots.

6 ) Artillery / Fire
05/08/2014 00:39
kafantaris / USA - sure, it is a war and artillery is used during war for the last 600 years. If Palestinians do not like artillery fire directed to them - they should not start a war.

7 ) spb / us
05/08/2014 01:25
might worth 4 #1 to read before and after the segments saying that a fire from heavily populated area does not absolve the firing party from receiving returning fire. thus, firing from dense populated area constitute a war crime while the response does no. sorry guy that's the law

8 ) Rondo Mondo / Canada
05/08/2014 01:30
Prez Barack Obama has signed a bill providing Israel with another 225 million dollars for its Iron Dome. Israel got an unconditional cease fire as it wanted. Waht did Hamas get? Death, destruction, and humiliation?

9 ) Don't blame Hamas / USA
05/08/2014 01:50
Hamas rockets are incredibly accurate. So nothing Hamas does is indiscriminate, kafantaris.

10 ) ABE / USA
05/08/2014 01:52
Hamas has LOST!! They have agreed to the same Egyptian plan that was first presented 3 weeks ago! 1500 more Palestinians died for Hamas!

11 ) Bill / U.S.A.
05/08/2014 02:47
The Rhetoric needs to stop! Allow Israel to be gracious and merciful. They are a people who are called to the highest standard of set forth by "GOD ALL MIGHTY" I am sure that if you allow them too, they will exceed your expectations! There can be no more calls for their destruction, no more killing, no more rockets, no more hostilities of any kind. When we turn to God he doesn't require us to meet him half way. he meets us where we are, and takes us with him. love God, and those he has created!

12 ) Julie / USA
05/08/2014 05:12
izrael will likely blackmail Palestinians, fully agreeing to meet ALL their demands...BUT...only on the condition that Palestinians agree NOT to seek prosecution at the ICC for any of izrael's obvious war crimes. just watch and see...

13 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
05/08/2014 06:24
What's your issue, Kafantaris? You don't like indiscriminate shelling of populated areas? So why aren't you commenting on Hamas and PIJ, since their stated policy is to shell Israeli populated areas? Or are you just another phony pretending to be concerned with "human rights" so long as the Palestinians can break all human rights laws?

14 ) spb / usa
05/08/2014 06:37
i heard israel accepted 25 of the 10 condition set by hamas

15 ) Ramlli Kamal / Malaysia
05/08/2014 18:07
Both the US and Israel are bullies. It is as if an adult whacking a small kid by the road side. Both of the countries are the actual terrorist. Your army don't dare to combat face to face with Al Qassam.

16 ) Noah Smejkal / USA
05/08/2014 19:06
Israel had been killing innocent civilians long enough. Rocket fire is simply an excuse for Israel to bombard Gaza
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