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Palestinians to quit Gaza talks if Israel no-show



By MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH and KARIN LAUB

CAIRO (AP) -- Palestinian negotiators threatened to quit Egyptian-brokered Gaza war truce talks Sunday unless Israeli negotiators return to Cairo - the latest sign of the vast gaps between the sides on a new border deal for the blockaded territory.

As the talks stalled, Israel responded to rocket fire from Gaza with at least 20 airstrikes, killing a 14-year-old boy and two other Palestinians, Gaza officials said.

Israeli officials have said their negotiators, who left Egypt on Friday, only will return if the rocket fire from Gaza stops.

"Israel will not negotiate under fire," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, warning his country's military campaign "will take time."

Hamas has refused to extend a temporary truce that helped launch the Cairo talks last week, saying it wants guarantees from Israel first that Gaza's borders will open. Israel and Egypt have enforced the blockade, to varying degrees, since Hamas seized Gaza in 2007.

Since the truce expired Friday, smaller Gaza militant groups - though not Hamas, according to claims of responsibility - have fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells at Israel, including two on Sunday.

"If Hamas thinks it has worn us down, it is wrong," Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said. "We will return to the table only after an end to the fire. ... We are not intending to compromise."

The diplomatic standoff, coupled with the ongoing cross-border attacks, signaled that a broader deal for battered Gaza, as envisioned by the international community, likely will remain elusive.

Israel has said it will not open Gaza's borders unless militant groups, including Hamas, disarm. Hamas has said handing over its weapons arsenal, which is believed to include several thousand remaining rockets, is inconceivable.

Various ideas have been raised to end Gaza's isolation, including deploying international inspectors at all crossings to address Israeli security concerns about smuggling weapons and militants. Europe has floated the idea of a link between ports in Gaza and Cyprus, with inspectors at both ends checking people and cargo.

Palestinian officials have said that Israel has so far rejected such proposals.

Instead, one proposal circulated by the Egyptian mediators over the weekend offered an easing of some of the restrictions, according to Palestinian negotiators who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to discuss internal deliberations with journalists. It was not clear if this was an Egyptian or an Israeli proposal.

Palestinian negotiators said they rejected the ideas, insisting on a complete end to the blockade. The Palestinian team includes Hamas officials and representatives of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, from whom Hamas took Gaza in 2007.

On Sunday, Palestinian negotiators vented their frustration about the lack of progress and the absence of the Israeli team.

Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of the delegation and a confidant of Abbas, said the Palestinian team would leave Sunday evening if it becomes apparent that the Israeli counterparts will not return.

"If it is proven to us that the Israeli delegation is setting conditions for its return to Cairo, we will not accept any condition for the continuation of the talks," he said.

Palestinian negotiator Bassam Salhi, who represents a small PLO faction, said the team met late Saturday with Egyptian mediators. In the meeting, the Palestinians were told that Egypt is in touch with Israeli officials and hopes to make progress, Salhi said.

"We told the Egyptians that if the Israelis are not coming and if there is no significant development, we are leaving today," he said Sunday.

Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment.

The Gaza war erupted on July 8, following weeks of escalating tensions between Israel and Hamas.

Israel launched an air campaign on the coastal territory, sending in ground troops nine days later to target rocket launchers and cross-border tunnels built by Hamas for attacks inside Israel.

Israel has targeted close to 5,000 sites, the army has said, while Gaza militants have fired more than 3,000 rockets into Israel.

On Sunday, Israeli aircraft hit about 20 targets, the army said.

Gaza officials said a 14-year-old boy was killed and four people were wounded in an Israeli airstrike in the central town of Deir al Balah. One woman was killed and eight family members were wounded in a strike on a home in the southern town of Bani Suheila, and a man was killed in a separate strike, on a house in the Jebaliya refugee camp, they said.

Navy gunboats fired at the Gaza fishing port, and fire erupted in the building where fishermen store their equipment, police said.

Gaza's civilians, especially children, have paid a steep price.

Of more than 1,900 people killed, at least 450 were children, according to Palestinian health officials. Children also made up almost one-third of close to 10,000 wounded. More than 10,000 homes have been destroyed, leaving some 65,000 people homeless, according to U.N. estimates. Tens of thousands fled fighting in the border areas, including heavy Israeli tank shelling, and are staying in crowded U.N. shelters.

In the West Bank, vandals torched a car Sunday in the Palestinian village of Kafr Yasuf and sprayed Hebrew graffiti that read "price tag," Israeli police said. The phrase is commonly used by a small group of mostly teenage Jewish extremists in attacks on Palestinians or their property. Such acts have been widely condemned by Israeli leaders.

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Angela9 August 10 2014 at 8:15 AM

I would not negoiate under fire either! Netanyahu is right in this. Hamas is tring to blame Israel for a no truce while firing rockets into their cities! You cannot negoiate with TERRORISTS!!

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1 reply
mjmjupiter Angela9 August 10 2014 at 8:49 AM

Wait a freaking minute!
Netanyahu started this little conflict when he blamed Hamas for the three teenms deaths without any proof, then proceeded to attack Hamas
Netanyahu will take any opportunity he can to attack Hamas ands he dosen't care how many Palestinians lives get in the way.
It is Netanyahu who is a terrorist of the highest order and will never agree to anything remotely favoring a positive result for the Palestinian people, let alone hamas.

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1 reply
Mike mjmjupiter August 10 2014 at 9:09 AM

You libbers have no clue....you ignor the facts...want to defend liars, murders...just admit you hate jews...

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ernie August 10 2014 at 8:20 AM

This is quite simple. If Hamas has no weapons, there is peace. If Israel has no weapons, there is no Israel. Destroy or disarm Hamas. If they won't give up their arms........destroy them.

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2 replies
desmondmiddle ernie August 10 2014 at 8:56 AM

Jackass

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masterinbama ernie August 10 2014 at 9:37 AM

Take them all out Isreal dont stop until all are dead

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warning.warning.warning August 10 2014 at 8:40 AM

How many more times must we read about a "truce" that Hamas is breaking?
This time make it clear
to these Hamas Muslim terrorists, until they agree to remove their 'primary goal'
of killing all Jews
- as written in their own Charter,- there will be NO MORE discussion
of any "truce".
Instead, Israel will continue wiping out every member of Hamas.

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1 reply
skatulaki3 warning.warning.warning August 10 2014 at 9:16 AM

Hamas didn't break any truces, either they were determined to be unacceptable or the truce timed out. isreal however broke a truce when it thought one of its soldiers had been captured.

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annfordinc August 10 2014 at 8:26 AM

What a joke! Israel is supposed to negiotiate with a flacid palestinian delegation while Hamas continues its attacks on Israel? Are you kidding me?? This is funnier than Last Comic Standing

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nam2205 August 10 2014 at 8:34 AM

I would like to know who is funding hamas. Could it be satan or the antichrist?

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2 replies
alls.well.that.ends.well nam2205 August 10 2014 at 8:43 AM

Are you referring to
Barack Hussein Obama?

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masterinbama nam2205 August 10 2014 at 9:39 AM

sounds like muslim odumbo is helping hamas

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drumzz1001 August 10 2014 at 8:22 AM

I'm LMFAO at the AZZCLOWNZZ of Hamazz.Look Hamazz you've been getting your heads bashed in at every turn.You've had KILLED enough of your women and children because of your cowardly ways.You've ROBBED at least 60% of the millions the U.N sent your country.You have been sunning yourself on the Riviera while your country is now much worse then when your LIEING SERPENT TONGUES started this.And i might add,you are now in the time zone,that means at any moment Israel can tell you and anyone of your U.N Muslims friends that now you will surely see those virgins you always talk about.You must know you have exhausted your GREEDY LIEING WAYS.

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1 reply
James Weaver drumzz1001 August 10 2014 at 8:42 AM

I think this is a rather simpleton response. The main problem is that while Hamas claims to speak and negotiate for all Palestinian Gazans, they are not even close to having control over all of the various factions. They know this but can never speak about it because it would mean they would have to go against their own brothers. Israel/Jews are united. Palestinians/Arabs are fractured into a myriad of small interest groups. Now you try and work that out.

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joan August 10 2014 at 8:25 AM

Absolutely correct not to negotiate under fire

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1 reply
mjmjupiter joan August 10 2014 at 8:41 AM

So Israel starts this conflict by blaming Hamas for the three teems deaths with no proof, MURDERES 2000 Palestinians in the process and you think Israel is the victim?

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Jerry August 10 2014 at 8:00 AM

Why don't they quit bombing?

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7 replies
MICHAEL August 10 2014 at 8:06 AM

Israel says > even though we started it based on false pretenses of 3 israeli kids being killed by hamas(no evidence) which were killed in IDF controlled territory by other suspects that have detained, we want the rest of your land for our settlements, which was always the plan. You must lay down all your weapons so we can continue the starvation blockade like we were subject to in the Warsaw Ghetto, as we have you completely surrounded still Like the Nazis did to us during the Warsaw time, and we will let in a few items of our choosing to you if we feel like it and you do what we say. You palestinians still can not use you sea port, your airport and you can not come or go with out the our israeli permission from your open air prison, and we will decide what trade you can let in our out of yoru prison. we will continue to demonize you in the media we own around the world and especially our captured United States territory that we have by the Balls and throat!!!.. “Our race is the Master race.
The masses will lick our feet
and serve us as our slaves.”
— Menachem Begin, Israeli Prime Minister

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5 replies
kriss29 August 10 2014 at 9:09 AM

AIPAC busy at work again this AM
Sayanim (sing. Sayan; Hebrew: helpers, assistants) is a term for a Mossad operative recruited from among the Jewish Diaspora to help the Mossad with operations outside Israel, utilising the capacity of their own nationality to procure assistance. While not official Mossad agents and sometimes acting without explicit knowledge, they may work in the capacity of unregistered representatives of the government of Israel in their respective nations.

Generally-speaking, these non-Israeli Jewish volunteers are asked to engage in legal activities that will not bring them into trouble with the authorities. There are exceptions, however, as for example in the case of Jonathan Pollard, the U.S. Naval intelligence employee who engaged in espionage on behalf of Israel's intelligence agencies and whose exposure by the FBI strained relations between the U.S. and Israel.

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