Hamas delegation arrives in Cairo for cease-fire talks

Hamas delegation arrives in Cairo for cease-fire talks

Cairo : Egypt | Nov 26, 2012 at 11:10 PM PST
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SAN FRANCISCO -- News that Hamas officials arrived in Cairo on Sunday to prepare for talks scheduled tomorrow between Egyptian and Israeli officials means last week's cease-fire deal is holding.

Terms of the deal, which has so far stopped rocket fire against Israeli cities and forestalled an expected ground invasion of the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip, included a series of such consultations to lead to an easing of sanctions against the breakaway territory.

The office of Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh released a statement Sunday announcing that consultations through diplomats from the United States and Egypt would begin Monday, according to Cable News Network (CNN).

Hamas and Israel do not recogize each other and speak only through intermediaries.

Talks scheduled for Monday are expected to concern Israel's opening of border crossings to Gaza and relaxing its economic blockade.

One restriction apparently has already been relaxed.

CNN reports that Gaza fishermen are now permitted to fish as far as six miles out in the Mediterranean Sea.

But a possible complication to the arrangement emerged Sunday when Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that his organization, which governs the West Bank of the Jordan River, would be renewing its bid for membership in the United Nations.

"All the Palestinian factions are behind us as we go tomorrow to the United Nations," Abbas said in a speech broadcast on Palestine TV, CNN said.

A vote is not expected until Thursday, CNN said.

The move toward statehood has been opposed by the United States and Israel since it was advanced by Abbas last year.

Israel and the United States contend that progress toward a Palestinian state should be the result of negotiations -- negotiation that have been stalled for years.

Hamas, which seized control over the Gaza territory from the Palestinian Authority in 2007, also opposes the move, CNN said.

Indeed, a Hamas spokesman denied reports Sunday that Haniyeh had "blessed" the Palestinian Authority's decision to bring its case to the UN.

But former Hamas minister Nasser al-Shaer said Sunday that he supported the effort to involve the U.N., CNN reported.

More than 160 Palestinians and six Israelis were killed in aerial bombardments launched by Hamas and Israel before Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former U.N. Secretary-General Ban K. Moon helped negotiate a the truce.

An earlier war between Hamas and Israel that began at the end of 2008 with militants firing rockets and Israel responding with a ground invasion in early 2009 resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 Palestinians, mostly civilians.

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Palestinian President
The residence of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Photo: Lily/Wikimedia Commons
Nathan Salant is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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