The Israeli delegation negotiating a ceasefire with the Palestinians returned to Cairo Monday morning after both sides agreed to yet another 72-hour ceasefire.
The ceasefire, which went into effect 12 a.m. on Monday, saw the end of rocket fire upon Israel since its start. However, Hamas has repeatedly threatened that the Gaza based terror group would resume rocket fire should talks in Egypt not reach any breakthroughs.
Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the Palestinian delegation, threatened that “if we don’t reach an agreement within 72 hours, it is likely we’ll quit the negotiations and there won’t be another ceasefire.”
Khaled Mashal, one of the main leaders of Hamas, told AFP in an interview that he is using the ceasefire to advance their interests and those of the Palestinian people.
He said that the ceasefire “is one of the ways or tactics to ensure successful negotiations or to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza. Any long-term ceasefire would be conditioned on the lifting of the siege on the Gaza Strip.”
Mashal failed to mention Hamas’s continuous tactics of targeting the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza in which the IDF has been transferring millions of tons of humanitarian supplies to those in the Strip.
Israel’s Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said on Monday that he does not think the Cairo talks will end in producing a long-term agreement.
“There is a slim chance an agreement will be reached, but to my understanding after 72 hours the fire will resume and we will have to turn to the next stage, which is the decisive stage,” he told Ynet.
Aharonovitch said only “a magician” would be able to secure a long-term agreement.
While each side has proposed their conditions, Israel has already rejected Hamas’s demand to build a seaport and airport in Gaza. However, Israel is said to support the opening of the Rafah border crossing, which needs to be negotiated with Egypt, and expanding Gaza’s fishing areas.
Hamas rockets landing in the Kerem Shalom crossing
Monday afternoon, Egypt temporarily opened the Rafah crossing, allowing Gazans to seek medical treatment and allow foreign passport holders to leave Gaza.
Israel is said to require that all international monetary aid pledged to Gaza for rebuilding purposes should go directly to the contractors or different organizations tasked with recovery efforts.
As revealed by Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has been funneling most humanitarian aid, including money and building supplies, to further the terror group’s activities against Israel. It is estimated that some 600 million tons of concrete, which should have been used to build civilian infrastructure in Gaza, was used by Hamas to build their now demolished terror tunnels.