Israel, Palestine engage in ‘difficult’ talks

  • Agencies, Cairo/Gaza
  • Updated: Aug 12, 2014 23:24 IST

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo were today locked in “difficult” talks to find a long-term solution to the crisis in Gaza, even as the 72-hour truce took hold for the second day allowing people in the Hamas-ruled area to fix the destruction.

“We are facing difficult negotiations. The first truce passed without notable achievements. This is the second and final cease-fire,” Palestinian news agency Ma’an quoted Mousa Abu Marzouk as saying.

Last week, Hamas refused to extend a first 72-hour halt in fighting with Israel unless their demands, particularly the opening of border crossings with Gaza and the construction of a seaport, were met. An Israeli official told Israel Radio that there had been no progress in the talks so far, as the gaps between the sides remained too vast.

Israeli officials said that another 72 hours were needed to cement a long-term cease-fire deal with Hamas.

The radio station reported that the delegation was expected to agree to ease some restrictions in Gaza, including extending fishing rights, increasing the number of materials that enter Gaza, along with Israel allowing funds to enter the Strip to be used to pay the salaries of Hamas officials. The Israeli delegation said that it was not going to give any concessions regarding Hamas’ demands to open a seaport and airport in Gaza, Jerusalem Post reported.

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