Gaza fighting continues, no response to Egypt ceasefire call

Joel Gulhane
4 Min Read
On 26 August 2014, Egypt negotiated a ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian groups after the 50-day "Operation Protective Edge", which left hundreds dead. (Photo Handout from the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza)
Gaza fighting continues, no response to Egypt ceasefire call. (Photo Handout from the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza)
Gaza fighting continues, no response to Egypt ceasefire call.
(Photo Handout from the Palestinian Ministry of Interior in Gaza)

Egypt remained in contact with all parties involved in the Gaza conflict on Sunday following its call for an indefinite ceasefire, with both sides yet to respond to the call, as rockets and air strikes continued in to be exchanged.

Spokesman for the Egyptian foreign ministry Badr Abdelatty said on Sunday that no response had been received and stressed that Egyptian officials are “still in contact with all sides” in an attempt to resume the stalled indirect talks and end the fighting.

A Palestinian source told Daily News Egypt that he expected the Palestinian factions to accept the latest Egyptian attempt to stop the fighting in the Gaza Strip. The source, who requested anonymity, pointed out the difficulty in getting all of the “factions and groups involved” to agree. He also stressed that the leaders of the different factions “definitely can” control rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Prime Minister’s office said that it had “nothing to comment” on the Egyptian initiative. The spokesman pointed out that Hamas “has violated 11 ceasefires” and reiterated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s insistence that Israel will not negotiate under fire.

At the start of the weekly meeting of the Israeli cabinet, Netanyahu warned Gazans to “immediately evacuate any building from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity. Any such place is a target for us”. He also compared Hamas to extremist militant group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has run rampant in Iraq over the last two months, slaughtering civilians and targeting minority groups.

Netanyahu stressed: “Israel will continue to stand alongside the civilized world in its war against extremist and violent Islam.” He added that Israel’s Operation Protective Edge will not end until it has achieved its goal “to restore quiet and security to you and to all Israeli citizens”.

The Palestinian source stressed that the factions are committed to the Egyptian initiative, first proposed on 14 July and initially rejected by Hamas that claimed it was not formally approached to participate.

One of the main sticking points in the indirect talks is the “Israeli demand of disarmament”, saying it was not logical as long as the occupation of Gaza were to continue. He stressed that the current priority “is to stop the bloodshed”.

At least 7 people were killed in Gaza on Sunday, according to the Gazan health ministry, bringing the death toll to at least 2,110 since 8 July and 92 since the collapse of a ceasefire last Tuesday evening. At least 67 Israelis have died since 8 July, including 2 civilians and 1 foreign national.

Egypt, which has hosted indirect talks between a cross-faction Palestinian delegation and an Israeli delegation in Cairo, urged the two sides to agree to a ceasefire with no deadline in an attempt to end the “spilling of the innocent blood of the Palestinian people and to achieve their interests and safeguard their legitimate rights”.

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Joel Gulhane is a journalist with an interest in Egyptian and regional politics. Follow him on Twitter @jgulhane
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