TEL AVIV, August 12 (RIA Novosti) – Israel believes that the current ceasefire in the Gaza Strip that is due to expire late Wednesday should be extended at least for another three days to allow for productive talks in Cairo over the conditions of a long-term resolution of the conflict, Israeli radio station Kol reported Tuesday.
Israeli and Palestinian delegations on Monday resumed indirect dialogue in Cairo and agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire. Palestinians demand from Tel Aviv to lift the Gaza Strip blockade and threatened to resume rocket attacks if their requests will be neglected. Israel had previously refused to negotiate “under fire” unless Palestinian militants stopped shelling the country.
According to the media, Tel Aviv has offered to double the amount of cargo that is allowed to be shipped across the Israel-Gaza border, resume supply of construction materials under the condition of strict control over its usage, extend by three times the length of the Mediterranean Sea coast where Palestinians can fish, liberalize the rules of entry and departure from the Gaza Strip. Palestinians are also trying to negotiate an open border with Egypt, which in turn demands that the Rafah checkpoint, currently under Hamas control, to be given to the Palestinian national administration.
One of the key issues in the dispute between the two parties is Hamas’ demand that Israel to open sea and air ports for Gaza.
“Israel is against it, fearing that ports could be used by Hamas and other factions for the arms smuggling … Sources in Hamas say that in case all their other conditions will be met, a resolution of this issue could be postponed,” Kol Israel reported.
The truce that began late Sunday will end late Wednesday and has so far been observed by both sides of the conflict that has claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 people.