Gaza conflict: Palestinian negotiators to leave Cairo ceasefire talks unless Israelis return
Palestinian negotiators at Cairo ceasefire talks said they would leave on Sunday if Israel did not attend without preconditions.
Talks in Cairo aimed at securing a fresh ceasefire in Gaza are under renewed strain, with both sides in the conflict issuing warnings.
Israel insists it will not return until militant rocket fire from Gaza ends.
The UK, France and Germany issued a statement calling on Israel and Hamas to agree a new truce, after last week’s 72-hour ceasefire was not renewed.
That ceasefire ended on Friday morning. At least eight Palestinians were killed on Saturday as Israel launched 50 air strikes, Gaza health officials said.
Israeli authorities said 25 rockets were fired from Gaza towards southern Israel on Saturday. A further two were fired on Sunday morning. The Israeli air force has hit 20 targets in Gaza overnight, Israeli news reports say.
At least 1,960 people have died since violence erupted in Gaza in early July.
According to the UN, more than 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed.
Sixty-seven people have died on the Israeli side, including three civilians.
Israeli negotiators have already left Egypt and said they would not return to the indirect negotiations until rocket fire from Gaza stopped.
The Jerusalem Post quoted senior Israeli officials as saying that if rocket fire continued, “all options” were on the table, not just air strikes.
Communications Minister Gilad Erdan told Israel’s Channel 2 that “a wide ground incursion and the toppling of Hamas is being discussed”.
Hamas deputy chief Mussa Abu Marzuq accused Israel of stalling and said the next 24 hours would decide the fate of the Cairo talks.
Earlier, the foreign ministers of France, Laurent Fabius, of the UK, Philip Hammond, and of Germany, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, said that the only way to resolve the conflict was through talks.
“We call upon all parties immediately to return to a ceasefire. We fully support the ongoing efforts by Egypt to this end,” they said in a joint statement.
“To be sustainable, a ceasefire must envisage steps to address both Israeli security concerns and Palestinian requirements regarding the lifting of restrictions on Gaza,” they added.
Earlier, the US and the United Nations issued a similar call for a ceasefire.
Hamas said Israel had failed to meet its key demands, including the lifting of the Gaza blockade and the release of prisoners. It also rejected Israel’s call for the demilitarisation of Gaza.
On Saturday, tens of thousands of protesters marched through London, Paris and Cape Town in what organisers called a “Day of Rage” against Israeli military action in Gaza.
About 150 protesters also held a demonstration in Tel Aviv despite Israeli authorities banning the gathering.
Palestinian health officials said at least seven people died in several separate air strikes on Saturday.
Israel said it killed four Hamas militants, including one senior leader, and more than 70 rockets had been fired from Gaza since the end of the ceasefire.
- 1,935 killed, including at least 1,408 civilians
- 452 children
- 235 women
- 64 soldiers
- 2 civilians
- 1 Thai national in Israel
(Source: OCHA; 08:00 GMT, August 9)
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