Palestinians consider proposal for Gaza truce

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Palestinians consider proposal for Gaza truce
Palestinian Ziad Rizk, 38, center, sits with others in a shelter made of a blanket stretched over four poles next to one of the destroyed Nada Towers, where he lost his apartment and clothes shop, in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. A new temporary truce took hold, Monday, in the monthlong war pitting the Israeli military against rocket-firing Hamas militants as negotiators from Israel and the Hamas militant group resumed indirect talks in Egypt on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
Intisar al Masri, salvages items from the rubble of her family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. A temporary Israel-Hamas truce was holding for a second day Tuesday as marathon, indirect negotiations on a lasting cease-fire and a long-term solution for the battered Gaza Strip were set to resume in Cairo. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Ahmad al Masri, sets up a shelter made of a blanket stretched on over the rubble of his family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. A temporary Israel-Hamas truce was holding for a second day Tuesday as marathon, indirect negotiations on a lasting cease-fire and a long-term solution for the battered Gaza Strip were set to resume in Cairo. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Eman al Masri, 6, walks on the rubble as she salvages what she can from the debris of her family house, destroyed by Israeli strikes in the town of Beit Hanoun, in the northern Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. A temporary Israel-Hamas truce was holding for a second day Tuesday as marathon, indirect negotiations on a lasting cease-fire and a long-term solution for the battered Gaza Strip were set to resume in Cairo. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Palestinian Ziad Rizk, 38, sits with others in a shelter made of a blanket stretched over four poles next to one of the destroyed Nada Towers, where he lost his apartment and clothes shop, in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. A new temporary truce took hold, Monday, in the monthlong war pitting the Israeli military against rocket-firing Hamas militants as negotiators from Israel and the Hamas militant group resumed indirect talks in Egypt on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A power plant worker cuts through twisted burned out metal near damaged fuel tanks on August 13, 2014 in the south of Gaza City at the sole power plant in Gaza which was knocked out of commission due to Israeli shelling on July 29. Plant workers are working on repairing the damage to the plant in an effort to restore some power across homes in the Gaza strip. Egyptian mediators raced to bridge gaps between Palestinians and Israelis as they struggled to secure a lasting Gaza truce ahead of the midnight expiry of a three-day ceasefire, an official said. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Power plant workers try to remove burned out twisted metal from a basin near damaged fuel tanks on August 13, 2014 in the south of Gaza City at the sole power plant in Gaza which was knocked out of commission due to Israeli shelling on July 29. Plant workers are working on repairing the damage to the plant in an effort to restore some power across homes in the Gaza strip. Egyptian mediators raced to bridge gaps between Palestinians and Israelis as they struggled to secure a lasting Gaza truce ahead of the midnight expiry of a three-day ceasefire, an official said. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
Ziad Assam walks on rubble inside an apartment complex where he used to live and that was heavily damaged in fighting between Israel and Hamas during over 4 weeks of fighting in northern Gaza strip a few miles away from the border with Israel on August 13, 2014. The UN estimates that about 10,000 homes were destroyed in the fighting that began on July 8. Indirect negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis for a truce in Gaza resumed on Wednesday, a Palestinian official said, as the clock ticked towards the midnight expiry of a three-day halt to hostilities. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian shepherd leads his flock of sheep past an apartment complex that was heavily damaged in fighting between Israel and Hamas during over 4 weeks of fighting in northern Gaza strip a few miles away from the border with Israel on August 13, 2014. The UN estimates that about 10,000 homes were destroyed in the fighting that began on July 8. Indirect negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis for a truce in Gaza resumed on Wednesday, a Palestinian official said, as the clock ticked towards the midnight expiry of a three-day halt to hostilities. AFP PHOTO/ROBERTO SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
RAFAH, GAZA STRIP, PALESTINE - 2014/08/11: Palestinian family sit around their destructed house and nearby chicken farm after an Israeli air strike hit Rafah in the Southern of Gaza strip. Israeli negotiators were in Cairo for talks to end the month-old Gaza war with Palestinian militants, according to an Israeli government official, after a new 72-hours truce brokered by Egypt still on-hold. (Photo by Ibrahim Khatib/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A Palestinian man inspects the damage of his flat in the destroyed Nada Towers residential neighborhood in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. A new temporary truce took hold, Monday, in the monthlong war pitting the Israeli military against rocket-firing Hamas militants as negotiators from Israel and the Hamas militant group resumed indirect talks in Egypt on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
A full moon is seen next to the destroyed Nada Towers residential neighborhood in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, Monday, Aug. 11, 2014. As A new temporary truce took hold, Monday, in the monthlong war pitting the Israeli military against rocket-firing Hamas militants as negotiators from Israel and the Hamas militant group resumed indirect talks in Egypt on Monday. (AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)
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BY MOHAMMED DARAGHMEH
CAIRO (AP) -- Palestinian negotiators considered an Egyptian proposal to end the monthlong Israel-Hamas war as the latest 72-hour cease-fire in the Gaza Strip was due to expire at midnight Wednesday.

Since the truce went into effect Sunday, Israel has halted military operations in the coastal territory and Gaza militants have stopped firing rockets.

The cease-fire was meant to give the two sides time to negotiate a more sustainable truce and a roadmap for the coastal territory.

A member of the Palestinian delegation to Egyptian-brokered talks in Cairo said Wednesday that his team was considering an Egyptian proposal, which was tabled Tuesday. Egyptian mediators have been ferrying between the Palestinians and their Israeli counterparts in an attempt overcome the differences between the sides.

The Egyptian proposal calls for easing parts of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, bringing some relief to the territory, according to Palestinian officials in the talks. But it leaves the key areas of disagreement, including Hamas' demand for a full lifting of the blockade and Israeli calls for Hamas to disarm, to later negotiations.

The Palestinian negotiator said he had some reservations about the proposal and would try to improve it.

"We would like to see more cross-border freedom, and also to have the question of a Gaza seaport and airport discussed," he said.

The Palestinian officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss negotiations with the media. An Israeli government spokesman had no comment on the negotiations.

In recorded remarks broadcast on Hamas radio Wednesday, Ismail Haniyeh, the top Hamas leader in Gaza, said that "achieving a permanent truce can come only through lifting the blockade on Gaza."

Amid the cease-fire, an Associated Press video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator working with him were killed Wednesday when ordnance left over from the war exploded as they covered a story about the conflict's aftermath.

Italian national Simone Camilli, 35, and Ali Shehda Abu Afash, 36, died when an unexploded missile believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up as Gazan police engineers worked to neutralize it in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya.

The war began on July 8 with Israel's air campaign against Gaza's Hamas rulers, whom Israel blamed for the kidnapping and murder in June of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank. Nine days later, Israel sent in ground troops to destroy Hamas' underground cross-border tunnels constructed for attacks inside Israel.

The fighting has so far killed more than 1,900 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, Palestinian and U.N. officials say. On the Israeli side, 67 people have died, all but three of them soldiers.

The latest outbreak of fighting is the third between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza since Hamas took over control of the densely-populated territory in 2007. Hamas has been consistently pushing for an end of an Israeli Gaza blockade, which Israel says is necessary to prevent the group from gaining access to weapons and munitions it deploys against Israelis.

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Associated Press writer Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, contributed to this report.

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