Israel: ‘Gaps very wide’ in Gaza truce talks

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (L) talks with Arab League Chief Nabil el-Araby during their meeting at the Arab League in Cairo August 11, 2014.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat (L) talks with Arab League Chief Nabil el-Araby during their meeting at the Arab League in Cairo August 11, 2014.

Indirect talks between Israel and Hamas in Egypt to broker an end to the Gaza conflict have so far made no progress, a senior Israeli official said Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse.

“The gaps are still very wide. There has not been progress in the negotiations,” the official said.

His remarks came as the Egyptian-mediated talks entered their second day.

The negotiations are aimed at brokering a long-term ceasefire agreement to end a confrontation which erupted on July 8 and which has claimed the lives of 1,940 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 people on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to discuss the Cairo talks with his security cabinet later on Tuesday afternoon but the meeting was cancelled, media reports said.

The first day of talks had lasted nearly 10 hours, a Palestinian official in Cairo said Monday.

“The negotiations were serious,” he said, adding that the Israelis were insisting on the demilitarization of Hamas, the defacto power in Gaza, but that the Palestinians had refused it.

“[Tuesday’s] meeting should be the most important,” he said, indicating the talks were expected to tackle core issues such as the eight-year-old Israeli blockade of the territory.

Few details have emerged from the negotiations where a Palestinian delegation, comprising senior officials from the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, is pushing for a removal of the blockade.

For its part, Israel demanded a full demilitarization of Gaza, with Egyptian negotiators facing an uphill battle to reconcile the two opposing positions.

 
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