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US, UN to announce humanitarian ceasefire initiative: Hamas official - Daily News Egypt

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US, UN to announce humanitarian ceasefire initiative: Hamas official

John Kerry and Ban Ki Moon meet in Cairo in efforts to stop the violence in Gaza

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon speaking at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry earlier this week calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip (Photo by Ali Omar)
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon speaking at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry earlier this week calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip (Photo by Ali Omar)

US Secretary of State John Kerry and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon are set to announce a new humanitarian ceasefire initiative in an attempt to kick-start negotiations for an agreement to “change the status quo” in Gaza.

Bassem Naim, a senior Hamas official, told Daily News Egypt that the UN and US were set to announce the new initiative later on Friday. He confirmed that the deal includes a 5-7 day humanitarian ceasefire and negotiations for a more permanent deal should start once all sides accept the ceasefire proposal.

Kerry and Ban met in Cairo on Friday along with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. Naim did not know the extent to which the Egyptian side was involved in the new proposal. The Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman was not available for comment.

Naim, adviser on international relations to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said that the group is looking for a “change from the status quo” in the Gaza Strip. This is a notion that Ban called for during his previous stop in Cairo earlier this week and reflect by Kerry. The pair, along with other diplomats, has called for an initiative to address the “root causes” of the issues in Gaza.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu travelled to Doha on Friday to meet with his Qatari counterpart and “discussing with the Palestinian side the recent stage reached in the negotiations”. Hamas’ senior leadership are currently staying in Qatar.

The latest flare-up of violence between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip began on 8 July and escalated into an Israeli ground offensive in the densely populated Palestinian territory. The ground offensive was launched after Hamas rejected a previous ceasefire proposal sponsored by Egypt.

As of Thursday the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) had confirmed that at least 789 Palestinians and 37 Israelis had been killed since the start of Israel’s ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on 8 July.

Of the 789 Palestinians killed, 578 are civilians including 185 children and 93 women, according to OCHA. Two of the 37 Israelis killed are civilians and the remaining 35 are soldiers.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health said on Friday afternoon the death toll had reached 828.

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  • Reda Sobky

    If this process leads to any gains for the Palestinian people, great. Hamas has to take responsibility for its transgressions against Egypt and playing the victim does not accomplish anything on the ground except sacrifice lives and create hardship. What would heal the rift with Egypt is stopping the support for Sinai infiltrators and terrorists and leaving the Qatar-Turkish alliance that is currently conspiring against Egypt and harboring terrorists and religious fanatics of the worst types. Pursuing Palestinian rights has to be separated from the Hamas terrorism and the criminal conspiracies of the deposed otherwise it contaminates the struggle and makes it look like Egypt, after a lifetime of sacrifices, is in the way of Palestinian rights, whereas Egypt is trying to protect itself against the toxicity Hamas has helped create by sending its terrorists to kill Egyptians on Egyptian soil. No Egyptian leader can compromise on the integrity of the Egyptian borders and the people’s identity as Egyptians. If Hamas keeps going down that road it will be giving away Palestinian aspirations in favor of its alliance with the deposed-a dead end path which will only set back further the aspiration and goal of asserting Palestinian rights.

    • Sam

      Really well said. That’s the truth!!

    • AntAloy

      Cannot agree. In Europe and the UK this opinion is not held. Palestine comes first.

  • AntAloy

    Dear All, In the UK the support for Palestine has been growing. This has been represented by the media and the protests. David Cameron Prime Minister has referred to Gaza as an open-air prison. His deputy Nick Clegg said last week in London, that Israel’s actions amounted to collective punishment (a war crime). The Labour Party have opposed Israel’s invasion. The 120 Non-Aligned Movement condemned Israel’s assault on Gaza last week and South American countries have withdrawn and condemned Israel’s actions. The UN is now undertaking to determine via the Human Rights Council, Israel’s war crimes. India, China, Brazil and Russia supported the recent resolution. Hamas has faults (many) and so does Israel’s Government which refuses to recognise Palestine (as 138 countries did in November 2012 and this recognition was undertaken by many Western European nations). Furthermore the ruling of the International Court of Justice (2004) concerning the “security barrier” which is 3 times the length of the Berlin Wall has been ignored repeatedly by Israel’s Government. At this moment in time, the plight of Palestine which is a humanitarian issue, supersedes any political differences. Best wishes

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