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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Dec 2014
Gaza truce pushes into 2nd day ahead of Cairo talks
AFP
Gaza City, August 06, 2014
First Published: 11:22 IST(6/8/2014)
Last Updated: 13:19 IST(6/8/2014)

A fragile ceasefire in Gaza pushed into a second day today as Israeli and Palestinian delegations prepared for crunch talks in Cairo to try to extend the 72-hour truce.

The ceasefire, which came into effect yesterday and carried past midnight into today, has brought relief to millions on both sides after one month of fighting killed 1,875 Palestinians and 67 people in Israel.

Israeli and Palestinian delegations are now set for what are expected to be tough talks aimed at securing a permanent ceasefire after the three-day window closes.

Officials on both sides confirmed sending small teams to the Egyptian capital, but they bring conflicting demands and face an uphill diplomatic battle ahead.Watch: Amidst shaky truce, Gazans venture out

The Palestinians insist Israel end its eight-year blockade of Gaza and open border crossings, while Israel wants Gaza fully demilitarised.

But after the longest period of quiet since fighting began, Palestinian foreign minister Riyad al-Maliki said he expected "the ceasefire to expand into another 72 hours and beyond".

The United States is set to participate in the Cairo talks.

"We are determining at what level and in what capacity and when," US State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters in Washington.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, in a BBC interview, called for a sustained ceasefire but stressed that the crucial wider issues will need to be addressed.

"How are we going to make peace? How are we going to eliminate these rockets? How are we going to demilitarize and move towards a different future?"  

In Gaza City, people came out in numbers on Tuesday afternoon, children played on the street and the beach, and some shops reopened for the first time in days.

Others ventured home for the first time only to witness scenes of devastation.

"What am I going to tell my wife and children? I don't want them to see this! They will go crazy," said Khayri Hasan al-Masri, a father of three who returned to his heavily damaged home in Beit Hanun in the north after fleeing when Israel's ground offensive began on July 17.

At a bullet-riddled girls' school, an Israeli flag and an anti-Hamas slogan had been etched on the wall of a classroom, and discarded ration packs and tuna cans labelled in Hebrew littered the floor.


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