Israeli, Hamas leaders huddle in Cairo for more truce talks
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Israeli, Hamas leaders huddle in Cairo for more truce talks

Cairo : Egypt | Nov 26, 2012 at 11:23 AM PST
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Abbas refuses to talk directly with Israel until it ends settlement construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem

It is heartening to learn that post-ceasefire talks have begun in Cairo, capital of Egypt, and hopefully details of the truce would be documented well to avoid any future warlike incident between Israel and Hamas. Hamas is a militant organization based in the Gaza Strip and is notorious for its hard stance about the very existence of the state of Israel. Last Wednesday night, Egypt, with the help of the United States and other international players, succeeded in brokering a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, ending eight days of fighting in Gaza. In the hastily drafted truce, it was mentioned that both the sides, Israel and Hamas, would huddle together to flesh out details of the ceasefire.

Alarmed by the prospects of failure of the ceasefire, Egypt contacted both the sides again and encouraged them to resume the dialogue. Even after the ceasefire, an Israeli fighter jet pounded in the Gaza Strip and killed a child. However, the incident did not incensed Hamas and it avoided retaliating. In the weeklong war more than 167 Gazans and six Israelis were killed. Hamas is now seeking more concessions in movement of Gazans to their fields and orchards besides opening up of more Israeli crossings into Gaza. However, the more contentious issues like Israeli settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem are less likely to be discussed. Until and unless the core issue of illegal settlements is not resolved, the truce is doomed to fail.

Even international dignitaries have condemned Israel for the illegal settlements and emphasized a two-state solution. During his visit last month, former US President Jimmy Carter condemned Israel’s West Bank settlement construction and described them as illegitimate and illegal. He has been long known for his efforts to establish peace and tranquility in the region. Carter, who has been emphasizing a two-state solution in the region, believes that this is the only way forward to establish peace in the region and that unless two states are demarcated, the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine cannot be contained.

However, Palestinians would say that dialogue with Israel is only possible if the latter ceases illegal settlement construction in the West Bank. On the other hand, Israeli leadership wants to initiate the dialogue process without meeting any preconditions. Another factor behind the stalled dialogue process between leaderships of Israel and Palestine is the cracks between the main Palestinian parties—Hamas and Fatah. Both the parties have their separate points of view about relations and dialogue with Israel.

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StephenManual is based in New York City, New York, United States of America, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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