World
Israel, Hamas at odds over truce extension
Publish Date: Aug 07, 2014
Israel, Hamas at odds over truce extension
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gives a press conference at his Jerusalem offices, on August 6, 2014. Netanyahu launched a vigorous defence of Israels month-long conflict in Gaza as "justified"
  • mail
  • img
newvision

GAZA CITY  - Israel and Hamas appeared at odds Thursday over prolonging a 72-hour Gaza ceasefire, with the Jewish state indicating it will back an unconditional extension but Hamas denying any agreement.

Guns have stayed silent in the tiny Palestinian enclave since 8:00 am (0500 GMT) Tuesday, bringing relief to millions of people on both sides after the deaths of 1,886 Palestinians and 67 on the Israeli side.

Egyptian mediators have accelerated efforts to extend the truce after it expires at 0500 GMT on Friday, shuttling between Israeli and Palestinian delegations in Cairo.

A Palestinian family drves past a destroyed building in the devastated neighbourhood of Shejaiya in Gaza City on August 6, 2014. PHOTO/AFP

"Israel has no problem extending the ceasefire unconditionally," an Israeli official told AFP on condition of anonymity late Wednesday. There was no immediate reaction from Hamas.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army said 27,000 reservists called up for the conflict had been sent home, leaving a force of 55,000 still on active duty, in another sign of growing hopes for long-term quiet.

But Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuq, part of the Palestinian delegation holding talks in Cairo, denied overnight there was yet any agreement.

"There is no agreement to extend the ceasefire," he wrote on Twitter.

"Any news about the extension of the truce is unfounded," added Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

In the battered Gaza Strip, shops, banks and markets have reopened, and people crowded into the streets.

Emergency services cleared rubble and retrieved more bodies, raising the overall Palestinian death toll to 1,886 according to the Palestinian health ministry.

In the southern town of Rafah, one of the worst-hit areas where Israel sought to destroy a network of Hamas tunnels, local residents buried bodies stacked in morgues while the fighting raged.

Israel says actions 'proportionate

US President Barack Obama said Wednesday that the people of Gaza need greater hope for the future, as he urged the extension of an Israel-Hamas ceasefire.

Obama said the United States was supporting ceasefire talks but added: "Long-term, there has to be a recognition that Gaza cannot sustain itself permanently closed off from the world."

"I have no sympathy for Hamas. I have great sympathy for ordinary people who are struggling within Gaza," Obama added.

Nearly half a million Palestinians were displaced by Israeli bombardment, and many are still sheltering in schools after their homes were flattened in the offensive.

"Look at my house, it is totally smashed. How can my children live here?" asked Mussa Abu al-Rus, whose house had been taken over by Israeli soldiers.

In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu launched a vigorous defence of the conflict in the face of international criticism over heavy Palestinian civilian casualties.

"I think it was justified. I think it was proportionate and that doesn't in any way take away the deep regret we have for the loss of a single civilian casualty," Netanyahu said in his first public remarks since the ceasefire came into effect.

On the Israeli side, the loss of 64 soldiers is its biggest toll since the 2006 war against Hezbollah.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned that after three wars in Gaza in six years, international patience with both sides is being tested.

He opened a special meeting of the UN General Assembly with an appeal for a lasting peace.

"The senseless cycle of suffering in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as in Israel, must end," he said.

'Every civilian casualty is a tragedy'

Netanyahu showed reporters aerial images of homes and of a UN-run school, from which he said Hamas fired mortars and rockets.

He accused the armed faction of deliberately increasing the death toll by using human shields and called on the international community to ostracise the group "for its callous abuse of civilians".

"Every civilian casualty is a tragedy, a tragedy of Hamas's own making," he added.

Egyptian officials mediating the Cairo talks for a durable truce in Gaza met a Palestinian delegation to relay terms laid down by an Israeli team overnight, Palestinian officials said.

Hamas officials have publicly rejected an Israeli demand that militants in Gaza disarm.

The Palestinians have insisted Israel end its eight-year blockade of Gaza and free scores of Hamas prisoners.

Israel has refused to deal with a Palestinian unity government that emerged after Hamas signed a deal with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas in April following years of bitter rivalry.

But Netanyahu said Israel was cooperating with the Abbas-led Palestinian Authority.

"We are prepared to see a role for them," he said.

AFP
 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Paralysed man walks again after breakthrough treatment
A paralysed man can walk again after receiving revolutionary treatment which one of the British scientists responsible hailed as a breakthrough "more impressive than a man walking on the Moon" - although others urged caution....
Pistorius to learn sentence for killing girlfriend
SOUTH African Paralympic athlete Oscar Pistorius today learns his sentence for shooting dead his girlfriend on Valentine's Day last year...
Warring S.Sudan leaders accept
SOUTH Sudan President Salva Kiir and his arch-rival rebel chief Riek Machar have accepted mutual responsibility for a 10-month civil war...
US drone crashes at Niger airport
A US drone crash-landed at Niger's main airport for unknown reasons on Monday, the US army said, forcing the closure of the runway for several hours....
Warring South Sudan rivals meet in Tanzania
WARRING South Sudanese factions were meeting Monday in Tanzania in the latest bid to end a 10-month civil war in which thousands of people have been killed...
WHO declares Nigeria Ebola-free
AFRICA''S most populous nation Nigeria has been declared officially Ebola free but warned that it remained vulnerable as long as the virus was raging elsewhere in west Africa...
Do Ugandan tycoons prepare their children to take over their business empires?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter