Egypt to Host Post-Gaza War Talks This Week

RAMALLAH (AP) -

Egypt will host a brief round of indirect talks this week between Israelis and Palestinians on a sustained Gaza ceasefire deal, as well as negotiations between Palestinian rivals Hamas and Fatah on who should run the territory, a Palestinian official said Sunday.

Both sessions will be held Tuesday in Cairo, said Azzam al-Ahmed, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment.

Hamas demands that Israel and Egypt lift their blockade of Gaza, which was imposed after Hamas seized the territory from longtime rival Abbas in 2007. Israel has said it can only end the closure if Hamas disarms, a demand the group has rejected.

Neither side appears eager to resume fighting, but they could be dragged into another war if no solution is found.

Al-Ahmed said the indirect talks between the Israeli and Palestinian delegations would be brief and would continue after the Jewish high holidays, a 10-day period that begins Wednesday night.

Ongoing tension over who will rule the Palestinians again surfaced. Al-Ahmed, the Abbas aide, said Hamas must step aside and let Abbas govern.