Israel`s Netanyahu warns Hamas as 5-day Gaza truce to expire today

With Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu making it clear that there would be no Gaza deal without ensuring Israel`s security, questions loom on the future of truce talks in Cairo as a five-day ceasefire is set to expire on Monday.

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Aug 18, 2014, 12:58 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha

Gaza City: With Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu making it clear that there would be no Gaza deal without ensuring Israel`s security, questions loom on the future of indirect truce talks in Cairo as a five-day ceasefire is set to expire on Monday night.

The residents in Gaza have been enjoying a period of quiet since last five days as a 120-hour ceasefire took hold, giving the negotiators in Cairo an opportunity to discuss a durable and longer-term truce to put an end to five-week hostility brewing across the Israel-Gaza border.

However, Netanyahu`s stern comments warning Hamas have weakened the hopes of a future ceasefire.

In public address to his Cabinet, Netanyahu sounded more adamant saying, "Only if there is a clear response to our security needs will we agree to reach understandings," he said.

"If Hamas thinks that through continued intermittent firing it will cause us to make concessions, it is mistaken. For as long as quiet does not return, Hamas will continue to absorb very harsh strikes."

Hinting at its refusal to agree to any ceasefire deal, without demilitarisation of Gaza and Hamas, Netanyahu said that Israel had meted out a severe blow to the Hamas and the group can not “cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement”.

Also, further dousing the hopes of a fruitful conclusion of Cairo talks, a Palestinian official told Egypt`s official news agency MENA that Israel had toughened its stance and had placed "impossible" demands, reported the Reuters.

“Israel`s position in the talks, as presented to them by Egyptian mediators, were a "retreat from what had already been achieved and discussions had returned to square one," the Reuters cited the official as quoted by the Egyptian news agency.

The Hamas has been demanding the lifting of an 8-year Israeli blockade of Gaza territory and the establishment of a seaport and airport. Israel, on the other hand wants Gaza and Hamas to be demilitarised completely.

However, in a positive move, Israel lifted its fishing ban in Gaza partially, allowing fishing within three nautical miles off Gaza shores.

The ban was imposed citing security risk as they feared that Hamas could use the sea route to bring weapons.

Israel launched its offensive on July 8 after Hamas started firing increasing number of rockets towards the Jewish state in the aftermath of the murder of three Israeli teens.

According to the UN refugee agency, there are 229,872 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) are sheltering in 81 UNRWA schools.

More than 2000 have died in the five-weeks of violence and lakhs have been displaced in Gaza.