Cease fire talks in Cairo appear deadlocked on the issue of disarmament, according to sources close to the negotiations.
This is the same issue that created an inconclusive end to the Second Lebanon War with the Hezbollah terror organization in the summer of 2006. Despite an eventual resolution to the conflict, Hezbollah ultimately never disarmed, and has continued as a threat to Israel from the Lebanese side of the border.
“We are facing difficult negotiations,” Hamas spokesperson Moussa Abu Marzouk told the Palestinian Arab Ma’an news agency, based in Bethlehem, on Tuesday. “The first ‘pause’ passed without any significant achievements.
“This is the second and final cease fire,” he warned.
Israeli officials, meanwhile, predicted that another 72-hour cease fire would be needed to hammer out any type of real agreement with Hamas, according to a report broadcast on Voice of Israel public radio. That, in addition to the cease fire currently in place, due to end Wednesday at midnight.
The arsenal of Hamas rockets and missiles has yet to be de-fanged, and some 300,000 Israelis remain internally displaced due to the life-threatening situation in their residential areas as a result.
A second Palestinian Arab source in Cairo who is close to the talks told the Reuters news agency on Tuesday that it would take another 24 hours before anyone could say whether an agreement could be reached.
“So far we can’t say that any breakthroughs have been achieved,” he said. “Twenty-four hours and we shall see whether we have an agreement.”
The Palestinian Arab delegation is demanding that Israel open all border crossings, allow a seaport and an airport, extend Gaza’s coastal fishing rights to 22 kilometers, increase the number and variety of materials allowed into the region and permit funds to flow into Gaza, ostensibly to pay the salaries of Hamas officials.
Israel is insisting that Hamas and all allied terrorist entities disarm, and that the region be demilitarized.
The issue of the seaport and the airport, as well as the influx of funds and free flow of materials into the region, all impact on the issue of disarmament. Hamas and its allies have misused funds and materials flowing into the region for humanitarian and civil purposes to build terrorist tunnels and purchase and create weapons with which to attack Israel instead.Hana Levi Julian