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Photo: AFP
Suleiman to try and convince Hamas
Photo: AFP
Egypt urges serious negotiations on Shalit
Cairo to try and convince Hamas to agree to long truce in return for commitment to pressure Israel on lifting blockade. Kidnapped soldier issue to also be discussed
Talks between the Palestinian organizations and senior Egyptian security officials on resuming the truce with Israel and the intra-Palestinian dialogue were launched Sunday in Cairo.

 

Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and his men were expected to try and convince the Palestinian organizations to accept a long-term lull in exchange for a commitment to pressure Israel to take measures aimed at opening the crossings and gradually lifting the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.

 

The Egyptians were to try and convince the Palestinian organizations not to torpedo the attempts to reach a truce, after Hamas was harshly criticized by the Palestinian factions during the previous lull.

 

The Egyptians were also set to try and lay the foundations for resuming the intra-Palestinian dialogue, and particularly the issue of reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas, although a Fatah delegation has yet to arrive in Cairo.

 

The factions, on their part, were to try and make it clear to the Egyptians that a lull without a significant removal of the siege would not last.

 

In its talks with the Hamas delegation, Cairo was expected to also work to convince the movement to accept the Egyptian initiative for a truce with Israel, and particularly launch serious negotiations on the issue of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

 

Hamas was expected to make it clear that as far as its leadership is concerned, there is no change in the list of prisoners the organization wishes to see released and that launching the talks must be accompanied by significant Israeli moves on the ground, aimed at lifting the siege.

 

Hamas was to demand a commitment on the mandate which will be given to the international force supervising the Egypt-Gaza border area, with the movement insisting that the force will also include Turkish troops.

 

They were also to demand an agreement on opening the Rafah crossing and declaring it an Egyptian-Palestinian crossing. Hamas was expected to accept the conditions for the reopening of the crossing, including the stationing of a force on behalf of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the return of international observers.

 

Nonetheless, the Palestinian movement was to demand that Israel will not be able to arbitrarily enforce the closing of the crossing. Palestinian and Egyptian sources have told Ynet that there are 5,000 people who Israel refuses to let pass through the crossing, all of them members of Hamas and the various Palestinian organizations.

 

The talks were expected to gain momentum in the coming days, particularly in terms of the lull, and later in terms of the intra-Palestinian dialogue.

 

Another issue expected to be raised during the talks was the need to rebuild the Gaza Strip following the three-week fighting and the role the Palestinian Authority and Hamas would play in the restoration process, on the backdrop of a recent dispute on the fundraising system and the timetable for the reconstruction process.

 

Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into the Gaza Strip 945 days ago.

 

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