Israel, Palestine renew truce

Gaza - The chief Palestinian delegate to truce talks with Israel warned on Tuesday that Gaza violence could erupt anew unless progress is made toward a lasting deal ahead of a midnight deadline in Egyptian-brokered talks.

After a last-minute agreement was stuck to extend by 24 hours a deadline to reach a truce, Azzam al-Ahmad, senior leader of President Mahmoud Abbas's mainstream Fatah movement, said there had been "no progress on any point" in talks aimed at resolving the Gaza conflict.

"We hope that every minute of the coming 24 hours will be used to reach an agreement, and if not [successful], the circle of violence will continue," Ahmad said.

He accused Israel of "manoeuvring and stalling" as gaps on key issues continued to dog efforts to achieve a long-term deal between Israel and militant groups in the Gaza Strip, dominated by Hamas Islamists, which would allow reconstruction aid to flow in after five weeks of fighting.

An Israeli government official said Israeli delegates were still in Cairo poring over details of a possible deal, although the parties had not yet agreed a draft.

"The Israeli delegation has been instructed to insist on security requirements. The moment there is an agreement, the cabinet will be called for discussions," said the official, who asked not to be identified.

Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk accused Israel of stalling and insisted in a post on his Twitter account that his group "will never cede any" demands for a comprehensive deal.

A senior Palestinian official in Gaza said sticking points to an agreement were Hamas's demands to build a seaport and an airport, which Israel wants to discuss only at a later stage.

Israel, which launched its offensive on 8 July after a surge in Hamas rocket fire across the border, has shown scant interest in making sweeping concessions, and has called for the disarming of militant groups in the enclave of 1.8 million people.

Hamas has said that laying down its weapons is not an option.

Israel threatens strong response

Hamas also insists that Israel free Palestinian prisoners while Israel wants Hamas to hand over the remains of two soldiers killed during the fighting.

Israel has signalled agreement to open Gaza crossings, which would ease a blockade of the coastal territory and allow for a freer flow of goods, and to extend maritime limits in the Mediterranean Sea.

Israel made clear before the earlier truce lapsed that it would continue to hold its fire as long as Palestinians did the same.

However, Netanyahu said on Sunday while visiting a naval port with his defence minister that "the Israeli military is prepared to take very aggressive action if shooting resumes" at Israel.

Israel and Hamas have not met face-to-face in Cairo, where the talks are being held in a branch of the intelligence agency, with Egyptian mediators shuttling between the parties in separate rooms. Israel regards Hamas, which advocates its destruction, as a terrorist group.

The Palestinian Health Ministry put the Gaza death toll at 2 016 and said most were civilians in the small, densely populated coastal territory. Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have been killed.

The United Nations said 425 000 people in Gaza have been displaced by the conflict.

Israeli and Palestinian officials confirmed they had agreed to the latest extension of the truce to give them time to pursue further negotiations.

The latest truce is the third in 10 days when fighting was brought to a halt.

Olivia du Plessis 2014/08/19 09:11:58 AM
It's Hamas that said they are using the cease fire to prepare for war and exterminating Israel not the other way around.
Qadeer Williams 2014/08/19 11:15:42 AM
Women and child killing murderous Zionists.Free free Palestine.
Cyberfriend 2014/08/19 11:26:48 AM
Hold on Gaza ,God Willing you will get what you want, Palestinians should not sacrifice so many children bombed from the sky by cowards for nothing.
Nceba Mbane 2014/08/19 11:33:30 AM
Hope they keep extending and renewing the truce until they get to a permanent solution. It might seem impossible now but as Madiba said "It seems impossible until it is done" Even here in SA, there was a time when no one in the world believed or wanted us to get peace, but we got it. (Although anc crooks are busy stealing it away compound by compound).
Mashooda Dhorat 2014/08/19 11:35:26 AM
@wes1 et al. I, a muslim, condemn Boko Haram, ISIS, Al Shabab, Israeli Defence Force and all other entities, who commit murder on all civilians in the name of religion or any other means of justification for their heinous deeds, be they muslims, jews, christians, hindus, atheists and any other innocent persons anywhere in the world. I challenge you all to do the same.
Raymon McNelly 2014/08/19 12:10:19 PM
Nice! The Islamic terrorist supporting N24 moderator strikes again. Delete all you want, scumbag! The truth is the truth and the more you delete comments, the more you prove us right!
David Luis 2014/08/19 12:40:07 PM
Naeem, you keep saying that Islam is against what HAMAS are doing but please point to us a single MUSLIM leader or country that has denounced them? not even one?? BTW, Hamas are only one bunch of murderers. you can add the to ISIS, BOKO Haram and other terrorists who claim they are doing it because the Quran tells them to do it)
Ismail Vally 2014/08/19 12:50:14 PM
If you want to speak and know about islaam,go and study islaam,do not study muslims,islaam is perfect,muslims are not!!
Gary Jonathan 2014/08/19 12:50:28 PM
the bottom line of the conflict is that the Muslims are determined to drive the Jews into the sea and the Jews are determined not to be driven into the sea. The Israelis want peace that will leave them alive and able to determine their own future but the only piece the Muslims or 'Palestinians' will accept if if all the Jews in israel are dead or very far away
Abner Mophethe 2014/08/19 01:53:49 PM
Let's say Hamas agrees to end all hostilities towards israel(which is not gonna happen)will the Israelis allow them an airport and a seaport?and just mybe Israel agrees to release all prisoners unconditionally,will hamams hand over the two bodies?