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Virtually no chance for long-term truce in Gaza

August 18, 2014, 20:36 UTC+3 CAIRO

The Palestinians, however, have said they may refuse to extend the ceasefire

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CAIRO, August 18. /ITAR-TASS/. There is practically no chance for a long-term truce between Palestinians and Israelis, the parties to the ongoing Egyptian-brokered ceasefire talks said on Monday.

Moussa Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, said the talks had returned to square one because of Israel’s position. Israel is insisting on full demilitarization of the enclave, which has been flatly rejected by all Palestinian factions. This is the main stumbling block and the principal condition for Israel’s agreement to discuss the lifting of the blockade on Gaza.

With a couple of hours before the end of the current ceasefire, Palestinians have already blamed Israel for delaying the talks. On August 13, just minutes before the end of the previous three-day ceasefire, the sides agreed to extend it for five more days from midnight Thursday, August 14, to Monday evening August 18. It was believed that during this time the Palestinians and Israelis were supposed to discuss with their leaders on the ground further steps towards permanent ceasefire, which was later termed indefinite ceasefire at least for a month.

The Palestinians, however, have said they may refuse to extend the ceasefire. For its part, Israel is insisting that Egypt’s amendments should address its security concerns before political and economic issues can be discussed.

It has been reported that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas will arrive in Cairo on Saturday for talks with Egyptian President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. Prior to that he is scheduled to have meetings in Qatar where Hamas has its headquarters.

Abbas and al-Sisi may also discuss a donor conference on Gaza to be held in Egypt in early September.

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