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Israel warns on 'security' as Gaza truce talks resume
Published Sunday 17/08/2014 (updated) 22/08/2014 19:06
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Hamad (R) and Mohammed (L) sit in a destroyed apartment building
where they lived with their families in the neighborhood of Al-Shaas
in the north of the Gaza Strip enclave on Aug. 16, 2014
(AFP Roberto Schmidt)
JERUSALEM (AFP) -- Israel warned Sunday it would not countenance any long-term truce deal that did not answer its security needs as Gaza ceasefire talks were set to resume in Cairo.

Egyptian-brokered indirect negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians are taking place during a five-day lull in the fighting which is due to expire at midnight on Monday.

The aim is to broker a long-term arrangement to halt over a month of bloody fighting which erupted on July 8 and has so far claimed 1,980 Palestinians lives and 67 on the Israeli side.

But as the Israeli team landed in Cairo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they would not agree to any proposal which did not offer a clear answer to Israel's security needs.

"The Israeli delegation in Cairo is acting with a very clear mandate to stand firmly on Israel's security needs," said Netanyahu.

"Only if there is a clear answer to Israel's security needs, only then will we agree to reach an understanding."

Despite the looming deadline, talks were only expected to resume during the evening when the full Palestinian team reached Cairo, officials said.

Both teams had returned home for three-days of consultations with their respective political masters.

Cairo airport sources said the Israeli delegation arrived mid-morning from Tel Aviv, and a Palestinian delegation from Ramallah flew in around the same time via Amman.

Hamas' exiled deputy leader Mousa Abu Marzouq arrived from Doha, but a four-strong team from Gaza was expected in the evening following a road trip of up to eight hours.

In Gaza, although residents enjoyed a weekend free of the deadly fighting, they were now facing other battles including the struggle to cope with a chronic water shortage.

"There's no water here and the toilets are very dirty, this is no kind of life," said Feriel al-Zaaneen who is sheltering at a UN school and hasn't been able to have a shower in over a month.

Muntaha al-Kafarna, a mother of nine who has been living in a small tent in the school courtyard did manage to shower at a nearby hospital, but says her family is really suffering from the water shortage.

"My sons have caught lice and nits because they can't shower here," she said.

"I wish a missile would hit us, me and my children. Dying is better than this life."

'Basic human rights'

In Ramallah, President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his commitment to the Egyptian proposal.

"Our goal is to stop fighting and we are committed to the Egyptian initiative and nothing else," he said.

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the Palestinians would not back down from their demands, central to which is a lifting of Israel's eight-year blockade.

"There is no way back from this. All these demands are basic human rights that do not need this battle or these negotiations," Abu Zuhri told AFP.

"The only way to have security is for Palestinians to feel it first and have the blockade lifted," he said.

But Netanyahu warned that Hamas, which he said had suffered a major military blow, would not walk away from the talks with any political success.

"If Hamas thinks it will make up for its military losses with a political achievement, it is wrong," Netanyuhu said.

Abu Zuhri responded in a statement, saying: "Netanyahu's comments about an alleged victory are just for the media in an attempt to evade wrath from Israelis and to cover for his failure."

"It's enough for Netanyahu that hundreds of his soldiers were either killed, injured, or captured, and that the resistance's rockets succeeded in striking the depths of Israel and blockading its airspace."

With their demands seemingly irreconcilable, the Egyptian mediators have their work cut out to hammer out a deal that each side can present as some kind of achievement.

Palestinian delegation head Azzam al-Ahmad said he was quietly optimistic that an agreement could be reached.

"We have high hopes of reaching an agreement very soon, before the end of the truce, and perhaps even, very quickly, for a permanent ceasefire," he told AFP.

2-stage proposal

Talks are expected to resume on the basis of an Egyptian proposal, seen by AFP, which calls for a lasting ceasefire beyond Monday midnight, and new talks on the thorniest issues, including demands for a seaport and airport in Gaza, which will begin in a month's time.

Negotiations about handing over the remains of two Israeli soldiers in exchange for the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails would also be discussed in a month.

The European Union said a durable ceasefire must be accompanied by lifting closures on Gaza and called on "all terrorist groups" in the territory to disarm.

Israel has so far refused to countenance any major reconstruction effort without full demilitarization.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) Pedant / Pakistan
17/08/2014 14:32
Hamas has a block booking for the Arabs of Gaza in Paradise. At the moment it's just a question of block booking the seventy two year old virgin.

2 ) JoeFattal / USA
17/08/2014 15:02
The way I see it Israel delegation works with one mind set, and Netanyahu worls with a different mind set. Israel delegation probably is pressure by moderate Israelis, the EU and partially by US to accept some or all demands from the Palestinians, and Netanyahu is pressure by his hardline government not to accept any demands. If the delegation end up agreeing on some of the demands and Hamas agree on the same, I can see Netanyahu's government folding their tents and dissolve.

3 ) Mel / USA
17/08/2014 15:36
Observe the view of destruction in that photo! DEVASTATION! Holy Land Zionist "Hiroshima" courtesy of USG(again)!As a human,US citizen,Christian & tax-payer,I'm outraged that this is the legacy of backward USG & its client-states, ESPECIALLY savage Zionist Israel.Is this all U R capable of D.C.,being bus-boy to savage Zionist Nazi's & oil Wahhabi's,XENOPHOBES ALL? This is your "shining hill" colonial "legacy"? HUMAN HATE & BLOWBACK? D.C.=Destruction Carnage & Zionism=Zealous psychopathic hatred.

4 ) MDBN / CH
17/08/2014 15:36
The Terrorist Aggressor and Occupiers demands security ! the only people who need security are the palestinians which he and every Israeli government attacked since eight-years,from land air and sea.I hope.the Palestinians,Hamas remain hardt this time to get their rights.I also know,this attack on Gasa was planned long before,Luis Moreno-Ocampo(former ICC member)had"visited"the Israeli government 7.Mai.2014(presumably consultation talks)and it was before the 3 settlers were "kidnapped".

5 ) israel will be foolush / to let HAMAS off the
17/08/2014 16:03
hook now Hamas is week and can be destroyed--or DISARM!!!!

6 ) insecure paranoid israeli gvt / madmen
17/08/2014 17:49
israels ,security , security, security..... what about humanity. you can be insecure when secure. what make israel more special than other countries? it is because a thief always watches his back...in fear of being stomped on. palestinians have a right to exist and have a secure life. im surprised many israelis with dual nationalities serve in israeli occupation army and then go live in usa or uk or australia or canada ( pro israeli countries).can they be prosecuted in the west?

7 ) sue the western settlers / occupation101
17/08/2014 17:51
palestinians should be given diplomatic immunity. netenyahoo is an american citizen , can i sue him for crimes abroad?

8 ) Outlier / USA
17/08/2014 17:54
Today's conflicts are centered in the Middle East. America needs to balance foreign policies towards oil producing Arab nations with our goal being peace and stability in the region. This places a burdon on our government to be even-handed in our dealings with the Arab world and Israel. While the Iraq War was waged on lies about Weapons of Mass Destruction and revenge for 911, the real reason has emerged as a well designed global plan to improve the power and leverage of Israel. Added to this po

9 ) Outlier / USA
17/08/2014 18:00
Michael Mukasey Recently appointed as US Attorney General. Mukasey also was the judge in the litigation between developer Larry Silverstein and several insurance companies arising from the destruction of the World Trade Center. Michael Chertoff Former Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, at the Justice Department; now head of Homeland Security.

10 ) Outlier / USA
17/08/2014 18:02
Paul Wolfowitz Former Deputy Defense Secretary, and member of Perle's Defense Policy Board, in the Pentagon. Wolfowitz is a close associate of Perle, and reportedly has close ties to the Israeli military.His sister lives in Israel. Wolfowitz came from the above mentioned Jewish thinktank, JINSA. Wolfowitz was the number two leader within the administration behind this Iraq war mongering.He later was appointed head of the WorldBank but resigned under pressure from WorldBank members over a scaNDal

11 ) all israeli citizens in US gov / all above
17/08/2014 18:06
Douglas Feith Under Secretary of Defense and Policy Advisor at the Pentagon. A close associate of Perle and served as his Special Counsel. Like Perle and the others, Feith is a pro-Israel extremist, who has advocated anti-Arab policies in the past. He is closely associated with the extremist group, the Zionist Organization of America, which even attacks Jews that don't agree. Frequently speaks at ZOA conferences. Feith runs a small law firm, which only has one International officE IN ISRAEL.

12 ) CONTINUED / gaza
17/08/2014 18:07
The majority of their legal work is representing Israeli interests. His firm's own website stated, prior to his appointment, that Feith "represents Israeli Armaments Manufacturer." Feith basically represents the Israeli War Machine. Feith also came from the Jewish thinktank JINSA. Feith, like Perle and Wolfowitz, are campaigning hard for this Israeli proxy war against Iraq

13 ) betz55 / USA
17/08/2014 19:33
Oh really Nutty ? And what about the security needs for Palestinian people ? It is your people and your goverment that killed almost 2000 people in Gaza not to mention those four boys on the beach. Palestinians need peace and security from you !

14 ) Pedant / Pakistan
17/08/2014 20:15
For every rocket Hamas fires Israel will respond massively. For every missile Hamas fires Israel will respond massively. That's the future equation, if the Hamas authorities continues the conflict. And then the proud people of Gaza, who have experienced overflowing toilets, will soon be shoveling their back and front bottom evacuations, down into the underground Hamas control and command centers. Which are directly below their emergency tents and shelters.

15 ) Hylton Fernandes / Quebec, Canada
17/08/2014 22:11
There should be no Peace Agreement with the Zionists, unless the Blockade is lifted. Hamas should also refuse to disarm, doing this, would leave the people of Gaza at the mercy of the brutal Zionist regime to slaughter them at will! And to call the Hamas military wing a terrorist organization by the European Union and others, including my own country Canada, is an injustice in itself! There should be no Peace until the occupational ends and the lands returned to the Palestinian People period!

16 ) Maureen / Australia
17/08/2014 23:08
"The European Union said a durable ceasefire must be accompanied by lifting closures on Gaza and called on "all terrorist groups" in the territory to disarm." What about the terrorist state of Israel, armed to the teeth with USraeli WMD?

17 ) joey / phil
18/08/2014 04:31
lasting peace is synonymous with independence of palestine

18 ) Hamas continues to / Produce ROCEKTS at
18/08/2014 09:54
alarming pace (underground) The war MUST GO ON and ISRAEL MUST SURRENDER

19 ) Luke / USA
18/08/2014 15:01
If I open fire on my neighbor's house with an RPF, can I please get an airport? I think I would deserve at least a helipad.
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