PA Factions to Meet With Egyptians Sunday Night
Members of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo discussed a cease-fire met on Sunday afternoon, and prepared a list of Hamas demands for a cease-fire in Gaza. The list, which was discussed by officials from the Palestinian Authority, as well as top terrorists from Hamas and Islamic Jihad, will be presented to Egyptian officials in a meeting later Sunday.
Participating in the Sunday afternoon meeting was US Middle East envoy Frank Lowenstein, representing Secretary of State John Kerry.
Sources at the meeting said that the list consisted of the same demands Hamas has been making over the past several days – a free flow of goods and people through the crossings into Sinai and Israel, an Israeli commitment to stop bombing Gaza terror targets, retention of whatever rockets and terror tunnels Hamas still has, an expansion of fishing areas off the Gaza coast, release of terrorists who were released in the Shalit deal and then re-arrested, and Egyptian supervision of Israel, to make sure it sticks to the agreement.
Israel has not sent a delegation, saying Friday that it would no longer conduct cease-fire talks with Hamas, which has lied and violated six cease-fires – the latest one last Friday, when Hamas terrorists broke a US and UN brokered cease-fire by killing three IDF soldiers.
Egypt has said previously that it would not entertain any talk of a cease-fire until Hamas stopped firing rockets at Israel. As the Palestinian factions were meeting in Cairo Sunday, Hamas terrorists continued to pound Israel with rockets. Dozens of mortar shells were fired at Gaza border areas, while longer-range rockets were fired at Ashkelon, Sderot, Beersheva, Rehovot, and Tel Aviv. It is not clear what, if anything, has changed in Egypt's position, officials said.
The agreement by the factions was announced at a news conference in Cairo Sunday afternoon, which was attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who called on Israel and Hamas to stop fighting and urged the Jewish state to lift its blockade of Gaza. "Both sides, the Israeli and the Palestinian, should immediately and comprehensively cease fire, including air strikes, ground operations and rocket fire to save the people and peace in the region," said Wang, whose comments were translated into Arabic.
"All actions that involve excessive use of force and that lead to civilian casualties are unacceptable,” he added.”