Palestinian negotiators agree to another 72-hour ceasefire
Earlier today, Palestinian negotiators said that they have agreed to an Egyptian proposal for a new 72-hour truce with Israel, thus opening the door to a possible resumption of negotiations for a more long-term ceasefire agreement in the Gaza Strip.
Over the weekend, Israel has walked away from cease-fire talks after Palestinian militants resumed firing rockets into the southern part of Israel after the previous 72-hour ceasefire came to a close. It was hoped that Sunday’s decision would bring Israel back to the negotiations, however, there was no immediate response from Israeli officials.
“We are here to look for an agreement. We cannot have an agreement without talks, so we accepted and Egyptian proposal to have a cease-fire for 72 hours in order to resume the talks,” said a Palestinian negotiator.
Hamas had, earlier, refused to extend the temporary ceasefire because it wanted a guarantee from Israel that Gaza’s border would be opened. Israel, along with Egypt, has enforced a blockade on the Gaza Strip, to varying degrees, ever since Hamas seized Gaza back in 2007. Israel has made it very clear that it has no intention of opening the borders until militant groups, including Hamas, allow themselves to be disarmed.
Ever since the previous 72-hour ceasefire expired on Friday, smaller militant groups in the Gaza Strip, not all of whom belong to Hamas, have fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells into Israel. “If Hamas thinks it has worn us down, it is wrong,” Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said. “We will return to the table only after an end to the fire. … We are not intending to compromise.”
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