by Saud Abu Ramadan
GAZA/CARIO, Aug. 3 (Xinhua) -- The first official talks on reaching a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Gaza militants kicked off on Sunday in Cairo amid international pressures on the fighting parties to end around four weeks of Israeli offensive on the coastal enclave that killed and wounded thousands.
A high-ranking Palestinian delegation that includes officials in Palestine Liberation Organization and leaders of Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements will hold later on Sunday talks with an Egyptian delegation in Cairo to discuss a ceasefire, which began on July 8.
A Palestinian official, close to the delegation and who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua that the Palestinian delegation would brief its Egyptian counterpart on several points it had been agreed upon earlier on Sunday in Cairo between the members of the Palestinian delegation.
"The meeting of the delegation was positive and it was agreed on all points which will be discussed with the Egyptian side, which include a mutual ceasefire, an Israeli ground forces pullout from Gaza Strip, lifting the Israeli blockade and guaranteed entrance of aid, goods and individuals free movement," he said.
He added that the Palestinian delegation has its proposals drafted, which has been handed over to the Egyptian side later this evening.
The draft includes expanding fishing area for Gaza fishermen in an area of 12 miles instead of three miles, ending the no-go zone at the borderline area and releasing the recently detained prisoners.
Meanwhile, Israel postponed sending its delegation to Cairo, but Israeli officials in the Israeli foreign ministry said Israel may change its arrangement.
However, Musa Abu Marzooq, head of Hamas delegation to the talks with Egypt, said that the Palestinian delegation will only talk with the Egyptian side and there will be no direct talks with the Israeli delegation, adding that Hamas is interested in calm and lifting the Israeli siege imposed on Gaza.
The talks on reaching a ceasefire were supposed to start in Cairo on Friday, but a violation of the UN-proposed ceasefire obliged the delegations to postpone their talks until Sunday. Israel meanwhile accused Hamas of violating the ceasefire when its militants killed three Israeli soldiers after the three-day truce went into effect.
Meanwhile, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday called on the international community to pressure Israel to accept the Egyptian-proposed ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, an official statement said.
The statement published on official news agency "Wafa" said Abbas addressed the UN, the United States, the European Union, Russia and China to exert pressure on Israel and end its war on the Gaza Strip that killed and wounded thousands.
"By rejecting the ceasefire, Israel will be fully responsible for the serious consequences of continuing its war on the Gaza Strip," said Abbas, adding "Israel is committing crimes against the Palestinians people."
"Over the past 27 days, Israel kills 17 Palestinians every single hour and kills one Palestinian child every one hour on average," said the statement.
The Israeli ongoing offensive on Gaza, which started on July 8, has left at least 1,800 Palestinians killed, mostly civilians, and about 9,500 wounded. On the other hand, Hamas attacks have killed 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians according to Israeli reports.
In mid-July, Egypt proposed an initiative for a ceasefire in Gaza that was initially accepted by Israel and rejected by Hamas, which said the proposal was not comprehensive and without guarantees for ending the Israeli blockade of the Strip.