Israeli Delegation Arrives in Cairo to Discuss Ceasefire
An Israeli delegation arrived in Cairo on Wednesday to discuss with Egyptian officials a possible ceasefire in Gaza, airport officials said, according to AFP.
Cairo, a key mediator in truce negotiations between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers, was also expected to host a Palestinian Authority delegation later this week.
Hamas has so far rejected a ceasefire in the 23-day conflict without guarantees to an end of the blockade of Gaza.
In fact, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal declared last week that Israel must accept his list of unprecedented conditions for a ceasefire in order for any truce to be implemented.
The Cairo airport officials did not identify the two-member Israeli delegation, but said they were scheduled to depart after a visit of several hours, in which they would discuss proposals for a truce.
The Egyptian newspaper Al-Youm Al-Sabaa reported that the members of the Israeli delegation indeed left Cairo several hours after arriving there. According to the report, cited by Kol Yisrael radio, the Israelis met with several senior Egyptian defense officials.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has been trying to broker a ceasefire in Gaza. Washington has placed enormous pressure on Israel to agree to a ceasefire with Hamas, and President Barack Obama is allegedly pushing for an unconditional ceasefire that would see negotiations on Hamas's set of demands.
A recent poll reveals that 85% of Israelis oppose the ceasefire unless Hamas is completely demilitarized beforehand.