REUTERS/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
Israel has agreed to observe a 72-hour cease-fire without preconditions in Gaza so that negotiations for a permanent truce may take place in Egypt, a senior Israeli official said. The truce was negotiated in Cairo in an attempt to get both Palestinian and Israeli delegations to Egypt to continue discussions on a more permanent peace treaty.
The Palestinian delegation, which included representatives from Hamas, Fatah and the Islamic Jihad, had already traveled to Cairo and they have also agreed to pause the fighting. The truce is said to begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.
"Following reports of a temporary cease-fire, negotiations for the implementation of the Egyptian initiative will begin. We call on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side to come to Cairo for open discussions on a permanent cease-fire, and we hope to see stability in the region soon,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.
According to Reuters, Egypt presented the Palestinian demands to Israel following their talks with the Palestinian delegation. The demands have remained unchanged from the original cease-fire negotiations: an end to the blockade, withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza and an immediate humanitarian cease-fire.
So far, Israel has only agreed to the cease-fire so that negotiations on the other demands might begin.
On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the operation in Gaza even after the army announced that nearly all the “terror tunnels” were destroyed.
As the fourth week of Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” comes to a close in Gaza, 1,804 Palestinians, most of them civilians, and 64 Israeli soldiers have died.