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Sides in Gaza talks dig in as cease-fire end looms


CAIRO (AP) -- Israeli and Palestinian negotiators in Egypt-mediated Gaza truce talks hardened their positions Monday ahead of the expiration of a five-day cease-fire, though both sides appear reluctant to return to the deadly all-out fighting that has destroyed large parts of the densely-populated coastal strip.

The month-long Israel-Hamas war has killed more than 1,900 Palestinians, the majority of them civilians, according to Palestinian and U.N. officials. Israel has lost 67 people, all but three of them soldiers.

Since last week, indirect talks have been taking place in Cairo through Egyptian mediators in an effort to broker a substantive end to the war and draw up a roadmap for Gaza.

On Sunday, Palestinian and Israeli delegations resumed the talks following weekend consultations across the Middle East but gaps between the two sides remain wide, with each staking out maximalist positions.

The Gaza blockade, imposed by Israel and Egypt since the Hamas militants took control of the strip in 2007, remains the main stumbling block. It has greatly limited the movement of Palestinians in and out of the territory of 1.8 million people, restricted the flow of goods into Gaza and blocked virtually all exports.

A Palestinian negotiator, Qais Abdul Karim, told The Associated Press that on Sunday, Israel pressed for guarantees that Hamas and other militant factions in Gaza would be disarmed, while the Palestinians demanded an end to the blockade without preconditions.

The current five-day cease-fire ends at midnight (2100 GMT) Monday but Ziad Nakhleh, head of the Islamic Jihad faction within the Palestinian delegation in Cairo, said he expects it to be extended if a deal is not reached by then.

"The war is behind us now," he told the AP. "We are not returning to war."

Hamas has repeatedly said it will not give up its weapons, while Israel says it needs to maintain some degree of control over Gaza crossings to prevent the smuggling of weapons and weapons production materials into the coastal strip.

Karim, the Palestinian negotiator, said Egyptian mediators have pressed the Palestinians to present compromise proposals on the border crossing issue. The Palestinian delegation was in a meeting in the early hours Monday over it but the outcome was not immediately known.

Also on Monday, Israeli troops demolished the homes of two militants suspected in the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers whose deaths sparked the war in Gaza, and sealed up the home of a third.

The demolition is standard Israeli military procedure in dealing with militants suspected of major crimes. According to the police, there were 250 policemen at the scene, along with dozens of Israeli soldiers. Minor clashes were reported during the demolition, with Palestinian youths hurling rocks and stones at armored Israeli vehicles.

The three teens - Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel - were slain in June in the West Bank. Their killings were followed by the slaying of a Palestinian youth in what was a likely revenge attack.

The teens' deaths also led to wide-ranging Israeli raids in the West Bank and precipitated the Gaza war, which began on July 8 with an Israeli air campaign. Nine days later, Israel sent in ground troops to destroy Hamas' underground cross-border tunnels constructed for attacks inside Israel.

No Deal In Sight As Israel-Hamas Cease-Fire Winds Down

Related on AOL.com:
What started the Israel-Hamas War?
Parties involved in the Israel-Hamas War
Egypt's role in the cease-fire

International Positions on Israel-Hamas War
Hamas Militant Beliefs
US Intervention in Iraq

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bubbyejm August 18 2014 at 7:11 AM

The blockade may have "restricted" the flow of good but they seem to have enough weapons and cement to build their tunnels with which to sneak into Israel and murder Jews - so really how are they hurting. Also don't forget Israel transports foods and medicines - hundreds of truckloads daily - so no - until they agree to PEACE the blockade should not be lifted

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frankiegallo33 August 18 2014 at 5:25 AM

Israel stop wasting time and eliminate every single Hamas from God's earth.
Remember that History will show how Obama is strengthening Iran behind the scenes by weakening Israel.
Don't trust Obama.
The terrorists must be killed for us to have peace.

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6 replies
libsfault August 18 2014 at 5:56 AM

All terrorist need to be eliminated no matter where they are. Not contained like Obama says.

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hwlndrbrt August 18 2014 at 7:27 AM

Stand strong Israel! Give the enemy what it deserves, even if they come back at Israel full throttle! God is with you, Israel! God bless Benjamin Netanyahu. Long Live Israel!!!

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4 replies
airamrka August 18 2014 at 5:51 AM

Israel takes the hard line position of not opening the crossing and allowing Hamas terrorists freedom to come in and kill.

With the first terrorist rocket attack, push the scum into the sea and be done with it. The fish won't mind a little Muslim food.

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tren555 August 18 2014 at 6:20 AM

Peace is not negociable . A lasting pease is forced by a winning side .

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2 replies
chuck tren555 August 18 2014 at 7:53 AM

there is denny showing the world his stupidity again

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1 reply
farberj chuck August 18 2014 at 9:49 AM

it's not danny,it's another muhamad.

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ladkraemer tren555 August 18 2014 at 12:38 PM

Palestinians and Hamas don't need weapons if they want peace, but they really don't.

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hcduley August 18 2014 at 7:40 AM

Exports, what in hell could these dodo's export besides ignorance and hate?

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greenoynx August 18 2014 at 5:30 AM

Looks like a victory, dead and more dead, and there will be more dead. Great Victory all those Virgins in heaven waiting for the men, of Gaze, What do the women and children have waiting for them?

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1 reply
dm2473 greenoynx August 18 2014 at 7:36 AM

The Muslims have made a mistake.
Those aren't virgins waiting for them, they're Virginians.
72 American rednecks.

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chuck August 18 2014 at 7:49 AM

ISREAL, dont trust the muslems, they will just go back to killing you. they cant help it. they follow a low life lier proffet and all they want to do is kill. nont trust a muslem!

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2 replies
Carole chuck August 18 2014 at 10:40 AM

Actually, no one should trust the Muslims. If the U.S. doesn't wake-up and see what is going on in the U.K, France, and Holland, we will have the same problems. The only smart ones are the Swiss. Switzerland does not allow structures with minarets built in order to "maintain the integrity of Swiss architecture."

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jmccand779 chuck August 18 2014 at 1:27 PM

What they want are the EUROPEAN JEWS and their decendants off ARAB LAND!
They have no right to it and only have it because Britain allowed the INVASION of EUROPEAN JEWS and supported by the US and UN.
The Arabs NEVER agreed to having European Jews moving in and settling on ARAB land.

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l August 18 2014 at 7:46 AM

That very young person running in blue jeans I will pray for. He's so young and scared and in a horrible place. Seems the terroists took over Pakistan people and they dont fight back is the saddest situation ever. They are ruled by terrorists of Hamas makes there fate. They the people wont make there own fate is very sad to me.

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1 reply
danbckls l August 18 2014 at 9:07 AM

If what you said was true it would be sad. But what is even sadder is the reality. These people have been brain washed into believing in Mohammad's evil teachings. Of murder and male supremacy over their women and children. To the point they are not just supporting it. But glorying in it. Frightening but reality. May they receive the light of Jesus Christ. And no longer follow these evil teachings of "allah the moon god".

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1 reply
pfjw danbckls August 18 2014 at 1:04 PM

Well - Mohammad did not actually teach that - No disputing that the people are brainwashed, just the source.

How soon we forget "ethic cleansing" in the Balkans. Preached from the Christian pulpits - although arguably, something Christ never taught. Most of the evil in this world may be laid at the feet of organized religion and its so-called adherents. And there is plenty to go around.

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