Egyptian-Mediated Gaza Ceasefire Talks Resume

CAIRO/GAZA (Reuters) -

Egyptian-mediated talks between Israel and the Palestinians on cementing a ceasefire in Gaza resumed on Tuesday despite Palestinian condemnations of Israel’s killing of two Hamas terrorists earlier in the day in Chevron.

The first meeting began in Cairo around noon, under the leadership of Egyptian intelligence, having been delayed for almost two hours while Palestinian factions discussed whether to suspend the negotiations. Israel held them responsible for kidnapping and murdering three Israeli youths in June.

Azzam Ahmed, the Fatah official leading the Palestinian delegation in Cairo, said Tuesday’s talks were intended to set a schedule for wider negotiations likely to take place in October.

“After consultations within the Palestinian delegation and brothers in Gaza and abroad, it was decided to continue the Cairo meetings,” he told Reuters.

Egypt will host separate two-day talks beginning on Wednesday aimed at mending a rift between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction over a range of key issues including control of Gaza.

The ceasefire struck last month to end the Gaza war included stipulations that the Palestinian Authority, led by Abbas, should take over civil administration in Gaza from Hamas.

But a dispute over the Palestinian Authority’s non-payment of salaries to Gaza’s public sector workers has raised tensions between the two main Palestinian factions to near-breaking point, raising the risk of a return to conflict.