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Mohammed Morsi and Khaled Mashaal Photo: Egyptian Presidency
Mohammed Morsi and Khaled Mashaal Photo: Egyptian Presidency
 
 

Israel-Hamas talks to begin in Cairo

Israeli, Hamas representatives to discuss implementation of ceasefire terms; Egyptian officials to mediate

Yonatan Gonen
Published: 11.26.12, 14:18 / Israel News

Israeli and Hamas representatives will begin talks in Egypt on Tuesday regarding the implementation of the terms of the ceasefire that brought Operation Pillar of Defense to its end last week.

 

An Israeli delegation is expected to arrive in Cairo to discuss the issue with Egyptian officials. The Hamas delegation arrived in the Egyptian capital on Sunday night.

 

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According to reports by the London-based Asharq Alawsat newspaper, the negotiations will be conducted indirectly, mediated by Egyptian General Intelligence Service officials.

 

Senior Hamas official Razi Hamed was quoted by the newspaper as saying that the Hamas government will focus on the clause concerning the opening of the Gaza Strip's border crossings.

 

Hamas government spokesman Taher al-Nunu said that Hamas has sent a delegation of high-ranking officials to Cairo, headed by Hamas' Deputy Prime Minister Ziad al-Zaza.

 

He also said that aside from border crossings, the talks will focus on the maritime blockade and the free movement of fishermen. He praised the Egyptian assistance in putting an end to the escalation.

 

The understandings also touch upon the lull in hostilities and the Israeli commitment to stopping the targeted killings and invasions of Gaza .

 

According to the Associated Press, the agreement stipulates that Israel will refrain from all military activity in the Strip and the Palestinians will refrain from launching rockets in Israel's direction.

 

AP also reported that Hamas will ensure that rockets are not fired by other organizations and that Egypt will serve as a guarantor of the agreement.

 

Gains on both sides

A member of Hamas' politburo, Izzat a-Rishak, published the details of the agreement between Israel and the Palestinian organizations on Facebook:

 

"Israel will stop all its anti-Gaza sea, land and air activities including invasions and targeted killings.

 

"The Palestinian organizations will stop their Gaza-based activities against Israel, including rocket-launches and border attacks.

 

"Gaza land crossings will be open and easements granted for the passage of people and goods. This step will be effective 24 hours after the agreement is put into effect. Talks on the additional topics will be held if so requested."

 

Operation Pillar of Defense saw gains on both sides. Israel dealt a heavy military blow on Hamas, killing its top military commander, Ahmed Jabari, attacking more than 1,000 targets and seriously damaging the terror organizations' infrastructures.

 

Amongst the over 130 Palestinians killed in the operation were numerous terrorists responsible for launching rockets in Israel's direction.

 

In addition, early in the operation, Israel destroyed most of the terror organizations' long-range missiles. This is the reason why only a number were fired in the direction of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area and Jerusalem. Furthermore, Israel has not agreed removed the naval blockade on Gaza, a measure that was put in place to prevent weapon smuggling to the Strip.

 

Hamas, meanwhile, launching over 1,500 missiles at Israel, firing upon cities it previously failed to reach – Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Rishon Lezion. Despite being pounded by the IDF, it remains standing.

 

Moreover, Hamas garnered the support of Gaza residents, even of those who criticized the organization in the past. It also gained a certain sense of international legitimacy by getting Israel to negotiate with it, albeit with Egyptian mediation.

 

 

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