Gaza ceasefire to be extended by another 72 hours?
Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Jerusalem: Even as the latest 72-hour ceasefire appeared to sustain in Gaza, the truce talks being held indirectly between the representatives of Israel and Hamas ended in disappointment with no breakthrough deal agreed so far.
As the truce talks see no solution in sight, the ceasefire may be extended by another 72 hours, the Haaretz cited Palestinian sources as saying on Tuesday.
After the first day of talks that went on for 10 hours failed to reach any major breakthrough, the delegations from Israel, Hamas and Islamic Jihad have begun a second day of indirect talks in a bid to reach common ground for a durable truce.
An Israeli official speaking to the AFP said that there were still “big gaps” in the negotiations and no progress has been made so far.
Angered by Hamas rockets that had started soon after an earlier 72-hour ceasefire ended, Israeli negotiators had left Cairo on Friday, however they return to the negotiating table on Monday.
Even though the talks held on the first day were serious, there was no fruitful conclusion at the end as the Hamas denies ceding to Israeli demand of demilitarisation of Gaza.
Hamas on the other hand want Israel to lift the blocade on Gaza which has left its economy in tatters.
However, Israel fears that lifting of blocade will allow Hamas to restock its weapons` cache from abroad.
Israel withdrew its troops from Gaza last week saying it had finished its job of destroying tunnels built by Hamas.
However, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu has earlier repeated that Israel will continue to act against Hamas to protect its civilians.
The talks are aimed at achieving a long-term ceasefire agreement to bring peace to the region which has witnessed violence since July 8 when Israel launched Operation Protective Edge to halt Hamas rockets.
About 2000 Palestinians and dozens of Israeli soldiers have died in the conflict.
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