World Bulletin/News Desk
A Palestinian negotiator said Sunday that contacts are underway to set a date for the resumption of indirect talks between Palestinian resistance factions and Israel on a permanent Gaza cease-fire amid expectations that the talks would resume in Egyptian capital Cairo between September 20 and 25.
Qais Abdel-Karim, a leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP), told Anadolu Agency so far there is no major stumbling block on the road to resumed talks, even as officials from both sides make comments to the contrary.
"The talks would initially focus on the entry of construction materials into Gaza," Abdel-Karim, a member of the Palestinian delegation which engaged in the indirect talks in Cairo last month, told AA.
He said Israel had not implemented the terms of the cease-fire deal signed last month, which include easing restrictions on Gaza's crossings.
Abdel-Karim expressed hopes that the Israeli government would abide by the terms of the cease-fire deal and allow the entry of construction materials, warning against the "dire consequences" of the Israeli failure to honor its obligations.
He said an Egyptian delegation had discussed recently in Ramallah and Tel Aviv all issues related to the deal.
Meanwhile, an Israeli minister has sounded a pessimistic note on the prospects of expected indirect talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, on fixing a Gaza cease-fire, Israeli media has reported.
Israel Radio on Saturday quoted Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich as saying that he is not optimistic about the prospects of the talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis in Cairo.
It said the minister asked about whether the negotiations could continue.
Israel's recent offensive on the Gaza Strip ended with the announcement on August 26 of an open-ended cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian resistance factions.
The devastating 51-day offensive on Gaza left some 2,147 people dead and 11,000 injured – the vast majority of them civilians – while leaving thousands of residential structures in ruins.
According to Israeli figures, 67 Israeli soldiers and five civilians were killed over the course of the operation – the highest military death toll suffered by Israel since it lost 119 troops in its 2006 war on Lebanon.
The Palestinians and the Israelis agreed to resume indirect talks on fixing the cease-fire as well as other issues, including the desire of the people of Gaza to have an airport and a deep sea port, the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails and the reconstruction of Gaza within a month, according to Palestinian officials.
Aharonovich said his country would respond with force to any cease-fire violation on the part of the Palestinians, Israel Radio said.
Egypt has not officially invited the Palestinians or the Israelis to resume the indirect cease-fire talks in Cairo yet. It is not clear when these talks will start either.
On Wednesday and Thursday, an Egyptian official delegation conducted talks both in Ramallah and Tel Aviv on the resumption of the cease-fire talks and the entry of humanitarian aid and construction materials to Gaza, according to an Egyptian official.Last Mod: 07 Eylül 2014, 16:03