Skip to main content

Gaza talks resume in Egypt as new truce holds

By Saima Mohsin and Jethro Mullen, CNN
updated 10:03 AM EDT, Mon August 11, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Indirect talks between Israelis and Palestinians resume, Egyptian news service says
  • The talks are taking place amid a three-day cease-fire brokered by Egypt
  • Humanitarian needs in Gaza are "very, very big right now," Red Cross official says
  • Hamas warns it won't stay long "in the absence of serious negotiations"

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Indirect talks between Palestinians and Israelis, aimed at ending the hostilities in Gaza, have resumed in Cairo, Egyptian state-run EgyNews reported Monday.

The talks are taking place amid a three-day cease-fire brokered by Egypt.

Israel wants Hamas, the militant Islamic group that runs Gaza, to disarm as part of a demilitarization of the territory. The Palestinian delegation's demands include the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza; a commitment to the 2012 memorandum of understanding, which called for an end to Israel's blockade on Gaza; an extension of fishing rights off the coast; and the reopening of air and seaports.

Israeli authorities restrict the movement of goods and people in and out of Gaza, saying they need to prevent weapons being imported.

IDF: 'Terrorists' violated cease-fire
Gaza cease-fire expires, fighting returns
What's the next step in Gaza?
Rabbi: 'Israel has broken my heart'

Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev told CNN on Monday that "if nonviolence is maintained," the talks could be ongoing.

Israel would be willing to ease sanctions "if all aggression from Gaza stops," he said on CNN's "New Day."

"I believe if the Palestinians -- if Hamas -- ceases violence, ceases to target Israeli citizens, then anything is possible," Regev said. "We see nonviolence and demilitarization as the keys as we move forward now."

The Palestinian delegation includes representatives from several factions, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah, the group that governs the West Bank.

Senior Hamas official Izzat Risheq told CNN that this would be the last time Palestinians would be willing to participate in negotiations.

Before the latest truce was announced, Hamas officials had threatened to walk away from the talks.

"We will not stay long in the absence of serious negotiations," Mousa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas official in Cairo, said in a statement Sunday. "The coming 24 hours will determine the fate of the negotiations as a whole."

Humanitarian aid

The latest truce also helps humanitarian aid reach some of the victims of the Gaza conflict, which has been raging for more than a month.

"The humanitarian needs are very, very big right now" in Gaza, said Erika Tovar, a spokeswoman for the International Committee of the Red Cross. "Now we are able to move around better because of the cease-fire."

A spokeswoman for Israel's Coordination and Liaison Administration for Gaza, which coordinates the crossings from Israel into Gaza, said the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings were open Monday.

"Today, 369 truckloads of goods were scheduled to be sent into Gaza, including 212 truckloads of food, 33 of animal feed, and 25 of medical supplies," 2nd Lt. Adina Horesh said Monday. "There have not been any particular issues today that have hindered the operation of the crossing."

A previous cease-fire ended Friday when militant groups in Gaza resumed rocket attacks on Israel, provoking renewed airstrikes from the Israeli military.

The return to violence stalled the Egyptian-mediated negotiations between the two sides in Cairo, with Israeli officials leaving the city.

On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the delegation would not return until the rocket fire from Gaza stopped. "We will not negotiate under fire," he said.

The Israeli military said Monday morning that no rocket fire had been reported since the truce came into effect just after midnight local time (Sunday at 9 p.m. GMT and 5 p.m. ET), and a senior Egyptian official later told CNN that an Israeli delegation had arrived in Cairo for talks.

'The operation will continue'

The Israeli military pulled its ground forces out of Gaza last week, saying it had achieved the goal of destroying Hamas' network of tunnels, some of which ran under the border and were used by militants to launch attacks.

But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that the broader operation is still under way.

"At no stage did we announce its end," he said. "The operation will continue until we complete its aims -- the return of quiet for a continuous period of time."

On Sunday, before the new truce began, militants had kept firing rockets into Israel, and airstrikes continued to pound Gaza, killing a number of Palestinians.

The United Nations said Sunday that 1,948 Palestinians had been killed during the conflict, estimating that around 72% of them were civilians.

The fighting has wounded thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands. Many Gaza residents are struggling to get access to basic necessities like shelter, water and power.

Aid workers are taking advantage of the lull to try to address some of those issues.

"We can get disposable items to the hospitals, more health practitioners to the hospitals," said Tovar of the Red Cross. "We are bringing more technicians to repair the power lines, and we can go farther to assess the needs of people who have been displaced."

Israeli officials say 64 Israeli soldiers have been killed in the conflict, and three civilians were killed in Israel.

Man killed in the West Bank

In the West Bank, where the Gaza conflict has raised tensions, Israeli security forces killed a Palestinian man early Monday, the Israeli military said in a statement.

The man, who was wanted for questioning over a shooting incident against Israeli forces two weeks ago, barricaded himself in a building in the town of Qabalan, the Israel Defense Forces said. He refused repeated calls to turn himself in and fired a gun, it said.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that the Israeli forces targeted the 24-year-old man in his home and that eight other people were injured.

The IDF said it wasn't aware if anyone else was injured in the clash. It said further searches revealed weapons at the scene.

On Sunday, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and killed in front of his house in the West Bank city of Hebron during clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli soldiers, Palestinian medical officials said.

The Israeli military said it was looking into the reports of the boy's death.

CNN's Saima Mohsin reported from Jerusalem, and Jethro Mullen reported and wrote from Hong Kong. CNN's Samira Said, Ashley Fantz, Ali Younes, Salma Abdelaziz, Martin Savidge, Claudia Rebaza and Tal Heinrich also contributed to this report.

Part of complete coverage on
Tensions in the Middle East
Here's a look at some of the most serious conflicts involving Israel and its neighbors -- conflicts that have spanned more than six decades.
updated 11:17 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
A video released by ISIS shows the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley and threatens the life of another American if President Obama doesn't end military operations in Iraq.
updated 5:04 AM EDT, Tue August 19, 2014
19-year-old Udi Segal explains why he won't join his country's military.
updated 8:28 PM EDT, Fri August 22, 2014
The sights at the Gaza zoo couldn't be sadder, after it was nearly destroyed during recent Israel-Hamas conflict.
updated 12:11 PM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Both Hamas and Israel have chosen conflict over real peace negotiations again and again in the past, writes Rabbi Yehiel Grenimann.
updated 11:05 AM EDT, Fri August 15, 2014
Mohammed Najib says Hamas' objectives also include ending its political isolation.
updated 6:07 PM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
With so many conflicts, on so many fronts, here's a quick look at what's happening.
updated 10:29 AM EDT, Sat July 5, 2014
Alan Elsner: How Israel reacts will be decisive turning point for both Israelis and Palestinians.
updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri August 8, 2014
The Israel-Gaza conflict impacts families on both sides. Karl Penhaul speaks to the family of a militant killed in Gaza.
updated 9:41 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
A sense of Egypt's historic role and the traditional animosity of their military toward Islamist radicalism have propelled Egypt to take a central role in the on-off cease-fire talks.
updated 5:50 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
If the Gaza truce holds and Israel's Operation Protective Edge comes to its conclusion, some things are certain.
updated 12:26 PM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
CNN's Tim Lister says, to secure peace, Israel needs to offer Gazans a better future.
updated 4:35 PM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
Tensions between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been strained for years.
updated 9:16 AM EDT, Wed August 6, 2014
Images from the conflict between Israel and Hamas depict apparent civilians, caught in the middle.
updated 9:06 AM EDT, Tue August 5, 2014
Hamas must be tamed through politics, not the failed strategy of war, argues Ed Husain.
updated 9:55 AM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
It may have started as a TV debate about the Israel-Hamas conflict, but it's now turned into an online war of words.
updated 2:20 PM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
Hamas' political leader, who lives in Qatar, sits down with CNN for an exclusive interview.
updated 6:43 AM EDT, Mon August 4, 2014
Nafoz Mohammed is living in a cramped two-room apartment with 16 other people, hours holed up in fear.
updated 12:54 AM EDT, Sun August 3, 2014
Karl Penhaul visits a destroyed section of Gaza and learns how the bombing has affected one student's aspirations.
updated 2:15 AM EDT, Fri August 1, 2014
The birth of a child is normally a joyous occasion, but it is tinged by sadness and anxiety in Gaza. Ian Lee reports.
updated 1:24 PM EDT, Thu July 31, 2014
Amid the Gaza conflict, experts try to figure out who's in charge of "the resistance."
updated 6:10 AM EDT, Wed July 30, 2014
The opening was so small that CNN's Wolf Blitzer -- no physical giant -- had to bend down to climb inside.
Follow CNNArabic for the latest news and analysis from the Middle East and rest of the world.
ADVERTISEMENT