Egypt Claims to Have Brokered Ceasefire Agreement; Palestinian Factions Say They Were Not Consulted
Tuesday July 15, 2014 10:13 by Celine Hagbard - IMEMC News
The Israeli security cabinet reportedly agreed to a ceasefire agreement proposed by the Egyptian government,on Tuesday, but leaders with the Palestinian resistance said that no one had contacted them to negotiate any ceasefire.
Burial of chld killed by Israeli bombardment of Gaza (image by felesteen.ps)
According to Israeli military reports, the alleged ceasefire proposal would require the Israeli military to end its aerial and naval bombardment of the Gaza Strip that has been constant for the past week, while Palestinian armed factions would be required to stop firing homemade shells into Israel.
Despite claims of having agreed to a ceasefire, Israeli bombardment continued to pound Gaza on Tuesday morning.
The armed wing of the Hamas party, the Izz-al Deen al-Qassam Brigades, claimed that the ceasefire agreement amounted to a ‘surrender’, and that no representative of Hamas or any other armed resistance group had been involved in the negotiations. Therefore, the group said, they would continue their resistance to Israeli aggression in Gaza.
The supposed agreement does not meet the four key elements reiterated by Hamas leaders in recent days. These requirements include the lifting of the Israeli siege of the Gaza Strip, which has led to the unemployment rate of 80%, the sealing of all borders and the prevention of aid, construction materials and fuel, as well as staple goods, from entering Gaza.
Ismail Haniyeh, the elected Prime Minister of the Palestinians people who has not been recognized by Israel because of his association with the Hamas party, said on Monday, "The Gaza blockade must be lifted so that our people live in freedom like all other peoples around the world.”
Egyptian officials negotiated with Israel, apparently without involving Palestinians in the negotiation of the proposed ceasefire. Despite the lack of involvement, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with the Fateh party urged rival parties to accept the agreement.
Hamas officials stated, over the weekend, that Egypt was an unacceptable negotiator for any ceasefire negotiations, and only Turkey or Qatar could be considered as potential negotiators of a ceasefire.
Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has kept the Egyptian border with Gaza closed over the last week, apart from one opening to allow critically wounded patients through. This has led to widespread disapproval of Egypt as a negotiator among the Palestinian populace of Gaza, who have not had any way to escape the near-constant bombardment that began on July 8th.
In the two weeks prior to July 8th, 13 Palestinians had been killed by Israeli soldiers and settlers.
In the week since, 195 Palestinians have been killed, including three babies under age two, and several families that were totally wiped out.
2 Israeli girls were wounded on Monday night by a Palestinian shell, the first such injuries in the week of escalation. One of them, age 10, was wounded critically, according to Israeli sources.
Over the past week of escalation, at least 1,385 Palestinians have been wounded, many with head injuries, amputated limbs, permanent disabilities and embedded shrapnel. They include a four-day old infant, who was critically wounded by Israeli forces on Tuesday morning.
More than 180 Palestinians have been killed and 1,385 injured since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge against Gaza exactly a week ago.
Early on Tuesday evening, as Operation Protective Edge entered its second week, Israeli air strikes and rocket continued to strike Gaza even while reports of the ceasefire began to emerge.
Hamas rockets also continued to fly toward Israel where they have largely caused minor injuries and damage. Monday evening saw the most serious incident of the week-long conflict so far with two sisters – aged 10 and 13 – being hospitalised following a rocket attack. The younger sister, 10-year-old Maram Wakili remains in critical condition.