Published: Sun, August 19, 2018

Egypt Intelligence Chief arrives in Israel to finalise Gaza truce talks

Egypt Intelligence Chief arrives in Israel to finalise Gaza truce talks

"That's the only way", Israeli Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, a member of Netanyahu's security cabinet, said on Thursday when asked if a broad arrangement depended on the return of the soldiers' bodies.

Abbas added that he believes the trying to promote Gaza aid projects to serve its own interests.

President Donald Trump has promised to pursue the "ultimate deal" between the Palestinians and Israel.

A report in the Arabic daily newspaper Al-Hayat claimed that Egyptian Major General Abbas Kamel was in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, reportedly to discuss finalizing a truce agreement to head off further violent rioting, arson attacks and rocket strikes orchestrated by the Hamas terror group, which rules the Gaza Strip.

In October 2017, the cabinet passed a decision that Israel would not conduct diplomatic negotiations with a Palestinian government of which Hamas was a part unless a number of conditions were met, including: Hamas must recognize Israel and stop its terrorist activity; Hamas must disarm; the bodies of fallen Israeli soldiers and the Israeli captives being held in Gaza must be returned; the PA must be placed in full charge of security in Gaza, including control of the border crossings and responsibility for preventing weapons smuggling; the PA must continue to eradicate Hamas terrorist infrastructure in Judea and Samaria; Hamas must cut ties with Iran; and humanitarian aid and supplies must be transferred to Gaza through the PA and the mechanisms established for that objective.

"It ‎‎is in light of these understandings that the Kerem ‎‎Shalom crossing was opened and the Palestinian ‎‎fishing zone was expanded", continued the official. The limit is six nautical miles in the north, which borders Israel.

On July 9, Israeli authorities closed the crossing to most deliveries, partly in response to kites and balloons being flown across the border carrying firebombs to burn Israeli farmland, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

Only food, medical and limited fuel deliveries were allowed in. All other goods were turned away.

Fuel shortages in Gaza have contributed to chronic power outages that have left its 2 million residents with just a few hours of electricity a day.

Israel says it is necessary to stop Hamas from obtaining weapons or materials that could be used for military purposes.

Gaza's only other goods crossing is at Rafah on the Egyptian border.

"Hamas has basically no intention of achieving reconciliation", Abbas said.

Since March 30, 167 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.

At least 170 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli fire in weekly border demonstrations. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Gaza sniper during this same period.

The efforts by Egypt and United Nations officials to reach a long-term truce face major hurdles.

Officials from Hamas and its allies Islamic Jihad travelled to Egypt on Tuesday for talks, a Hamas source said.

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