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Indirect Israel-Hamas talks on Gaza start in Cairo

Associated Press

CAIRO (AP) -- Israel and Hamas began indirect talks on a new border deal for the blockaded Gaza Strip as a cease-fire ending their month-long war entered its second day Wednesday.

Israel has said it wants the Islamic militant Hamas to disarm, or at least ensure it cannot re-arm, before considering the group's demand that the territory's borders be opened. Israel and Egypt imposed a closure after the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007.

The indirect talks are being held in Cairo, with Egyptian mediators shuttling between the delegations.

Disarming Hamas tops the list of Israeli demands presented in a meeting with Egyptian mediators late Tuesday, said an Egyptian security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

The Israeli delegation has since left for Israel but was to return to Cairo later Wednesday, the official added.

The Palestinian delegation is composed of negotiators from all major factions, including Hamas and was to meet with Egyptian officials later Wednesday to be briefed on Israel's demands, said Bassam Salhi, a Palestinian delegate,.

"The most important thing to us is removing the blockade and start reconstructing Gaza," he said. "There can be no deal without that."

He said the cease-fire, set to expire at 8 a.m. Friday (0500 GMT), would likely be extended if more time for talks is needed.

Talks are still in the early stages, but the outlines of a possible solution have emerged, including internationally funded reconstruction of Gaza overseen by a Palestinian unity government led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The Western-backed Abbas lost control of Gaza in the Hamas takeover of 2007.

In a step toward reconstruction, Norway is organizing a donor conference, tentatively set for the beginning of September.

Regarding easing the blockade, a statement by Egyptian intelligence indicated it would not agree to major changes at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, and the onus of lifting the border closure would fall on Israel.

The cease-fire is the longest lull in a war that has killed nearly 1,900 Palestinians - 75 percent of them civilians according to the United Nations. Israel has lost 67 people, including three civilians.

Truce Offers Brief Window for Gazans to Bury Dead

The war broke out on July 8, when the Israeli military began bombarding targets in Gaza in an attempt to stop Hamas from launching rockets at Israel and then nine days later it sent in ground troops to destroy underground tunnels it said were built to attack Israel.

But in the weeks leading up to the war, Israeli-Palestinian tensions had already been rising following the June killings of three Israeli teenagers, whose bodies were discovered two weeks after they disappeared in the West Bank.

Israel accused Hamas of being behind the abductions, and subsequently carried out a massive ground operation in the West Bank, arresting hundreds of Hamas operatives as part of a manhunt. And in early July, an Arab teenager was abducted and burned alive by Israeli extremists in an apparent revenge attack. Six Jewish Israelis were arrested in that killing.

On Wednesday, Israel's Justice Ministry said it had arrested Hussam al-Qawasmi, the suspected mastermind behind the killing of the Israeli teens, in July.

He allegedly led a three-man cell, all of whom were affiliated with Hamas. The militant group has not claimed any connection to the teens' abduction and killings.

In Gaza, people took advantage on Wednesday of the calm to return to their devastated homes and inspect the damage.

People trickled back to their homes making their way over buckled roads, through dangling power lines and overturned trees to inspect their neighborhoods. Along the way, rows of flattened buildings alternated with moderately damaged structures - and rare buildings with no damage.

Cars and donkey carts loaded with household goods and mattresses filled the streets and queues formed at banks as people waited to withdraw cash from ATMs.

Crews from utility companies worked frantically to repair downed electricity and telephone lines. Gaza's only power plant was shut down after it was badly damaged by an Israeli attack and repairs are expected to take months.

The densely populated strip now only has 2-3 hours of electricity a day which trickles in from Egypt and Israel.

In the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, some expressed hope that the intensity of the destruction in this round of fighting - the third since Hamas took control of Gaza - would ratchet up enough pressure on the international community to find solutions to the territory's problems.

"The war was necessary to force the blockade to be lifted," said Mohammed Musleh, 27, as he surveyed his now uninhabitable third floor apartment damaged by the shelling. "I hope that this time there will be a really permanent solution for it."

Gaza Blockade
Israel Gaza Ceasefire
Conflict in the Middle East

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for.good.or.evil August 06 2014 at 10:15 AM

I wonder if these Hamas Muslims will change their "Charter" that states
"To kill every Jew on earth".?
If Hamas Muslims want to kill all Jews then how can any Jew feel safe under any agreement with these Muslim terrorists...?

Flag Reply +21 rate up
3 replies
lmao4891 August 06 2014 at 10:34 AM

Wow I am surprised AOL/HP has to use stock photos. I remember seeing the baby crying with the bandage on the left side of his head during the Egyptian crises. Nothing beats a photographic memory. AOL/HP your a bunch of yellow libocrats,

Flag Reply +19 rate up
3 replies
lmao4891 August 06 2014 at 10:24 AM

More yellow journalism from AOL/HP.

Flag Reply +16 rate up
1 reply
Mike McCormack lmao4891 August 06 2014 at 1:03 PM

I'm offended you actually call this "journalism" .. This clearly is biased propaganda. T

Do you understand??

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
lewmanbubba Mike McCormack August 06 2014 at 1:18 PM

unlike FOX huh

Flag 0 rate up
DanD August 06 2014 at 10:22 AM

There is only ONE solution. Total disarmament of Hamas, destruction of all tunnels, and complete access to israeli inspectors, (accompanied by international inspectors) of all ares of the Gaza. Also the understanding that ANY further aggression by Hamas towards Israel will be met with unending retaliation until HAMAS is "wiped off the face of the earth"....

Flag Reply +15 rate up
1 reply
dcr1140 DanD August 06 2014 at 2:50 PM

DanD....I vote for you !!!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
frankiegallo33 August 06 2014 at 10:30 AM

Simply put....Hamas are terrorists backed by Iran.
Israel are defending themselves against terrorist who are getting more & more dangerous.
What's the problem? Israel should Obliterate Hamas and be done with it. Collateral damage is, unfortunately, a part of war.
Don't trust Kerry, Obama or Hillary they are all liars and are backing Iran.

Flag Reply +14 rate up
2 replies
bjredmond64 frankiegallo33 August 06 2014 at 12:43 PM

frankiegallo33: you are right on.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
petpetdon frankiegallo33 August 06 2014 at 2:21 PM

Hamas is backed by Qutar not Iran. Do some research.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
billcdaly August 06 2014 at 10:31 AM

Things absent from the media;
- pictures of male Hamas soldiers
- any comment / support of Israel by Hillary.

Will Jewish voters remember Hillary's silence / non support of Israel???

Flag Reply +14 rate up
1 reply
Jac Bryan billcdaly August 06 2014 at 11:38 AM

Lets pray that America has a strong third party candidate who is not a Tea Party for the next Presidential election

Flag Reply +1 rate up
2 replies
Dr. Anxiety Jac Bryan August 06 2014 at 12:06 PM

We need a strong Tea Party candidate.

Flag +2 rate up
barbgre1 Jac Bryan August 06 2014 at 1:41 PM

Unfortunately, a Tea Party candidate at this time would just split the anti-Democratic votes.....which would let the Democrats win. We need to get Democrats out of office first......then work on a stronger Tea Party or Tea Party candidate.

Flag 0 rate up
kjmayberg August 06 2014 at 11:28 AM

Personally I'm tired of AOL and Huffington Post showing Palestinian casualties, particularly children, every time they bring up the conflict. Maybe if they brought to light the wave of terror brought on Israel prior to the war and covered the missile attacks on Israel, this never would of occurred. When Netanyahu gave a speech signaling to Hamas that if the missile attacks didn't stop, Israel would attack was not even covered. Both of these news organizations are misguided in using their media power to build anti-Israel sentiment despite the fact that Israel had no choice but to attack civilian areas because that's where the enemy that if attacking them is fighting from. Personally, I'm planning on switching away from AOL as my email address due to their biased coverage.

Flag Reply +13 rate up
2 replies
Dr. Anxiety kjmayberg August 06 2014 at 12:50 PM

Had no idea AOL was still around until I stumbled onto this gem of a story.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
b740g kjmayberg August 06 2014 at 1:58 PM

Since Huffington Post became part of AOL, it has turned Liberal with very narrow minded comments.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
maddi33 August 06 2014 at 12:00 PM


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1 reply
debnaert maddi33 August 06 2014 at 3:12 PM

The LEFT just LOVE to spread their ignorance of the real FACTS!

Flag Reply 0 rate up
buddwhyzr August 06 2014 at 11:25 AM

Hamas: Tying a note to a missile is NOT negotiating.

Flag Reply +11 rate up
drb107 August 06 2014 at 12:10 PM

Wow that is a nice picture of a future terrorist. The United Nations and our very honest news organizations in the US arebeing so truthful about this, lol. Biggest liars in the world

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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