JERUSALEM: Israel warned yesterday that it would refuse any long-term truce deal that failed to satisfy its security needs as Gaza ceasefire talks resumed in Cairo.
Egyptian-brokered indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are taking place during a five-day lull in the fighting that is due to expire at midnight (2100 GMT) today. The talks began yesterday afternoon at the headquarters of Egyptian intelligence.
The aim is to broker a long-term arrangement to halt over a month of bloody fighting which erupted on July 8 and has so far claimed 1,980 Palestinians lives and 67 on the Israeli side.
But as the Israeli team landed in Cairo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they would not agree to any proposal which did not offer a clear answer to Israel’s security needs. “The Israeli delegation in Cairo is acting with a very clear mandate to stand firmly on Israel’s security needs,” said Netanyahu. “Only if there is a clear answer to Israel’s security needs, only then will we agree to reach an understanding.”
In Ramallah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reiterated his commitment to the Egyptian proposal. “Our goal is to stop fighting and we are committed to the Egyptian initiative and nothing else,” he said.