ISRAEL HAS WARNED it would not countenance any long-term truce deal that did not answer its security needs as Gaza ceasefire talks resumed in Cairo.
Egyptian-brokered indirect negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians are taking place during a five-day lull in the fighting which is due to expire at midnight on Monday.
The aim is to broker a long-term arrangement to halt over a month of bloody fighting which erupted on July 8 and has so far claimed 1,980 Palestinians lives and 67 on the Israeli side.
But as the Israeli team landed in Cairo, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said they would not agree to any proposal which did not offer a clear answer to Israel’s security needs.
“The Israeli delegation in Cairo is acting with a very clear mandate to stand firmly on Israel’s security needs,” said Netanyahu.
“Only if there is a clear answer to Israel’s security needs, only then will we agree to reach an understanding.”
The talks began on Sunday afternoon at the headquarters of the Egyptian intelligence in the absence of four officials from Gaza, among them representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, who were expected to arrive during the evening.
It was the first time they had sat down since Wednesday after the negotiators returned home for three-days of consultations with their respective political masters.
Cairo airport sources said the Israeli delegation arrived mid-morning from Tel Aviv, and a Palestinian delegation from Ramallah flew in around the same time via Amman.
Hamas’s exiled deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk arrived from Doha.
In Gaza, although millions enjoyed a weekend free of the deadly fighting, residents are now facing other battles including the struggle to cope with a chronic water shortage.
“There’s no water here and the toilets are very dirty, this is no kind of life,” said Feriel al-Zaaneen who is sheltering at a UN school and hasn’t been able to have a shower in over a month.
Muntaha al-Kafarna, a mother of nine who has been living in a small tent in the school courtyard did manage to shower at a nearby hospital, but says her family is really suffering.
“My sons have caught lice and nits because they can’t shower here,” she said.
“I wish a missile would hit us, me and my children. Dying is better than this life.”
- © AFP 2014.