Netanyahu cancels trip amid Gaza truce talks

Cheryl Sanders
August 7, 2018

Egypt is trying to broker a broad cease-fire deal between Israel and Gaza's Hamas rulers that is to pave the way for Gaza's reconstruction and an eventual prisoner swap, senior Hamas officials said Thursday.

The Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reports Hamas will consent to a five-year truce with Israel which would end Hamas efforts to crash the Israeli border with the Gaza Strip and to attack Israel with rockets, incendiary balloons, and kites which have sparked fires that charred thousands of acres and damaged crops.

Hamas has led months of border protests partially aimed at drawing attention to the Israeli-Egyptian blockade imposed after it took control of Gaza in 2007.

Now, peace talks have been re-established among Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and Israel.

Meanwhile, the cancellation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's planned visit to Colombia is believed to be related to the "developments in Gaza", according to Israeli media, which referred to speculation that he needs to be available due to the possibility that there might be a breakthrough in talks between the Tel Aviv administration and Palestinian sides.

On Friday Ezzat al-Rishaq, a member of the Hamas political office, told protesters along the border they were "committed to calm".

Such a deal would involve a long-term cessation of hostilities between Israel and Hamas in exchange for a significant easing of the Jewish state´s crippling economic blockade of Gaza, according to Hamas and United Nations officials. While small changes have occurred since the deal was signed in October - notably the handing over of Gaza's borders to the PA - Hamas remains firmly in charge in Gaza.

At least 156 Palestinians have been killed in the protests and one Israeli soldier was shot dead by a sniper in Gaza. Others, among them armed Hamas militants, have been killed in attempted border attacks or in Israeli airstrikes.

It said a tank struck a Hamas post in response. Israeli troops fired tear gas and live rounds, wounding several protesters and a medic.

The organisers of the flotilla said the boat, which was carrying medical supplies, was intercepted in worldwide waters. Along with 21 other global participants on board the Norwegian-flagged Al Awda (The Return), Commodore was brutally attacked and kidnapped by Israeli forces in worldwide waters, last Sunday, and unlawfully detained for four days, in Israel.

Associated Press writers Fares Akram in Amman, Jordan, Ian Deitch in Jerusalem and Mohammed Daraghmeh in Ramallah, West Bank contributed.

Other reports by iNewsToday