Israeli, Palestinian negotiators resume indirect Gaza talks

Israeli, Palestinian negotiators resume indirect Gaza talks

PanARMENIAN.Net - Palestinian and Israeli negotiators in Cairo resumed indirect talks on Tuesday, Aug 19, trying to hammer out a roadmap for the war-torn Gaza Strip after Egypt announced a 24-hour extension of the cease-fire to allow more time for negotiations. The Associated Press

In an apparent attempt to pressure Hamas, Egypt said early Monday it would co-host an international fundraising conference for Gaza — but only if a deal is reached first.

A member of the Palestinian delegation said that Israel was offering to ease the Gaza blockade by opening border crossings to some goods and people, but was insisting that it retain the right to limit the imports of material like cement, and chemical and metal products, which Israel says can be used for weapons manufacturing.

The Palestinian official also told the AP that Israel wants to put off for an unspecified, later date any discussion on the opening of a Gaza sea port and airport and the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

The Gaza blockade, imposed after Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, has greatly limited the movement of Palestinians in and out of the territory of 1.8 million people, restricted the flow of goods into Gaza and blocked virtually all exports.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent arms smuggling, but critics say the measures have amounted to collective punishment.

Gaza Health Ministry official said Monday the death toll from the fighting had jumped to over 2,000 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, while UN officials, who often take more time to verify figures, put the number at 1,976. Israel lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

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