An Israeli delegation has landed in Egypt, a local report claimed, indicating Israel could be considering renewing diplomatic efforts to reach a long term ceasefire in Gaza despite renewed rocket fire on Israel which
promted the return of the previous delegation Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi accused Israel on Wednesday of "blocking" all attempts to end the Gaza conflict, a day after the collapse of a ceasefire in the Palestinian territory, which the US and Israel blame Hamas for.
The Egyptian news source Al-Youm al-Sabea reported Wednesday afternoon that an Israeli delegation led by Eyal Danino, a policy advisor at the Israeli embassy, had landed at Cairo's airport to hold meetings with Egyptian officials for discussions on finding a way to reach a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.
The delegation, which flew to Egypt through Cyprus, reportedly included five Israeli representatives.
"Israel is blocking any kind of agreement leading to calm" in the Gaza Strip, Arabi told journalists, after Egypt urged parties to resume negotations. Meanwhile, A source close to Hamas said it was likley talks would resume.
The fighting between Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza restarted on Tuesday after Hamas violated an extended ceasefire some 8 hours before its expiration. The Israeli military recalled 2,000 reservist soldiers back to duty, after they were expected to be released Tuesday.
The rocket attack came hours before a ceasefire deal was exepcted to be signed in Cairo, but in wake of the attack Israel decided to recall its delegation, which was still in Egypt holding indirect talks with Hamas when rockets began to fall.
"The Arab League wants to reach a permanent truce as soon as possible," he said before flying off to Geneva for a meeting with the International Committee of the Red Cross to demand protection of Palestinian civilians.
The comments came after Gaza militants resumed their rocket fire campaign against Israel, with at least 100 rockets launched at southern Israel since midnight Wednesday, 47 of which exploded in Eshkol Regional Council.
Eight days of calm under an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire exploded into violence late Tuesday as Israeli warplanes pounded Gaza in retaliation for cross-border rocket attacks which Israel and the US said first breached the ceasefire deal.
Egypt on Wednesday called on Israelis and Palestinians to resume negotiations, expressing its "profound regret at the breach of the ceasefire in Gaza."
Egypt, which is attempting to broker a long-term end to the bloodshed, "is continuing contacts with both the Palestinian and Israeli sides to exhort them to respect the ceasefire once more, and carry on negotiations in a positive way in order to reach an agreement guaranteeing a permanent ceasefire," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
The United States blamed rocket fire from Gaza for a breakdown in indirect talks between Israel and Palestinian authorities on a durable ceasefire Tuesday, and said Hamas bore responsibility.
"Hamas has security responsibility for Gaza... Rocket fire came from Gaza," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said, blaming the Palestinian Islamist group for renewed fighting.
"We are very concerned about today's development, condemn the renewed rocket fire and as we have said Israel has the right to defend itself against such attacks." Harf told reporters.
"We call for an immediate end of rocket fire hostilities and the return to ceasefire talks," she added, while speaking at a scheduled briefing.
"We hope that the parties can reach an agreement on a sustainable ceasefire or, if necessary, agree to another extension of their temporary ceasefire so they can continue the conversation.”
More than 2,030 Palestinians have been killed and 67 people have died on the Israeli side since July 8 when the conflict erupted.