30 Oct, 2020
JERUSALEM WEATHER

The five day ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians which expired midnight on Tuesday was extended by 24 hours at the request of Egypt.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are undergoing another round of indirect talks in Cairo in order to reach a long-term truce.

Hamas confirmed the extension of the ceasefire but blamed what he called Israel’s “obstinacy” for not reaching a final deal.

“The negotiations have faced difficulties because of the occupations obstinacy, and the 24-hour extension came as a result of a request by the mediators to have another chance,” senior Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq stated on Twitter.

In an interview later with Al-Jazeera, Rishq said that there had been no ongoing progress in the Egyptian mediated talks.

The current negotiations are centered on a recent Egyptian proposal that takes into account certain Palestinian demands, such as easing the blockade on Gaza, but leaves others to later negotiations.

Both Israel and Egypt have a blockade on Gaza in order to prevent Hamas, the ruling terror organization in Gaza, from smuggling in weapons.

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Hamas has repeatedly warned that it would not agree to extend any ceasefire, let alone a long-term truce, should Israel not give in to their demands. Devastated by Israel in the month long conflict under Operation Protective Edge, Hamas is attempting to save face with the people in Gaza by claiming concessions from Israel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a clear warning to Hamas on Sunday as negotiations reached a fragile stage.

“If Hamas thinks that it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement, it is mistaken…As long as quiet is not restored, Hamas will continue to receive very harsh blows. If Hamas thinks that we cannot stand up to it over time, it is mistaken,” the prime minister said at the weekly Security Cabinet meeting.

On Monday, while visiting an Israeli Navy base in Ashdod, Netanyahu said that the IDF was placed on high-alert and prepared to respond with force should Hamas resume rocket fire.

“We are preparing for any outcome. The Israeli team was instructed to insist firmly on Israel’s security needs, and the Israel Defense Forces is gearing up for a very forceful response if the fire resumes,” he said.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who was also visited the base with Netanyahu, said: “Operation Protective Edge is not over. As we promised, we will not stop until we bring quiet and security. We are prepared for the results of the discussions in Cairo, whether it brings quiet or if someone tries to challenge us with escalation. The IDF is prepared and ready to response strongly to any development.”

“Hamas will not drag us into war of attrition and, if it tries, it will be struck very hard,” he added.