August 12, 2014

WHEN TWO SIDES SIT DOWN TO NEGOTIATE ONE HAS ALREADY LOST:

Gaza: hopes rise of end to war as Hamas 'optimistic' of deal with Israel (Jason Burke in Gaza City, Patrick Kingsley in Cairo and Orlando Crowcroft in Tel Aviv, 8/12/14, The Guardian,)

Hopes rose on Tuesday night of an end to the month-long war in Gaza, with officials from Hamas and other groups expressing cautious optimism that a deal would be made with Israel before the current 72-hour ceasefire ends on Wednesday evening.

After a day of conflicting reports about Egyptian mediators' efforts to narrow the gap between the two sides, Ihab al-Ghossein, a senior Hamas official and spokesman in Gaza, said he was optimistic.

"This time at least it is a real negotiation. There is talking and discussion about all our points and hopefully we will have an agreement. I'm optimistic there will be something," he said.

Hassan Abdu, of the smaller Palestinian Islamic Jihad group, said there had been "positive developments," though he warned that the two sides, who are talking in Cairo through Egyptian mediators, were still some way from a deal. ,...]

The talks centre on the lifting of the blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel eight years ago, the key demand of the 12-man Palestinian delegation.

"We are not making demands, we are looking for our rights: lifting the siege, opening our borders, implementing past agreements, releasing prisoners," said Ghossein.

One key Palestinian demand is the construction of a sea port and reopening of an airport, as agreed in the Oslo agreements more than 20 years ago.

"We will not give Israel the security it wants until they lift the siege totally," said Abdu, of Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Posted by at August 12, 2014 4:59 PM
  
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