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Gaza ceasefire talks in process following 72-hour truce

English.news.cn   2014-08-06 15:03:44

GAZA, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Israeli and Palestinian delegations have travelled to Cairo with the aim of securing a lasting ceasefire in Gaza as a 72-hour truce came into effect on Tuesday.

Guns fell silent on Tuesday after Israel and Hamas-led Gaza militants accepted a 72-hour ceasefire, which came into effect at 8:00 a.m. (0500 GMT), putting an end to 29 days of fighting that killed 1,867 Palestinians and 64 Israelis.

The three-day indirect talks are being held in Egypt between Israel and a senior Palestinian delegation, joined by Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders, in a bid to draft a permanent truce.

Both delegations would have time to consult their respective leaderships over the other side's demands as it is likely that negotiators in the Egyptian capital will confront conflicting ones.

Palestinians said their demands include the lifting of an eight-year blockade of Gaza and opening of border crossings, while Israel wants Gaza fully demilitarized.

The United States said it expected to participate in the Cairo talks between Israelis and Palestinians.

"I think it is likely we will be participating in these talks," U.S. State Department Jen Psaki said. "We are determining at what level and in what capacity and when."

When asked if both sides had sought a U.S. presence in the negotiation, Psaki said, "I think our effort and our engagement on this process from the beginning has been welcomed by the parties."

"I think our engagement over the past 10 days has built and led to the point we reached last night," she added, after underlining the need for Islamist movement Hamas to make good on its promises.

The Israeli army earlier withdrew its troops to the Israeli side of the border, ending the ground operation aimed at destroying tunnels Gaza militants had used to attack its territory. It announced that the troops would be "deployed in defensive positions" outside Gaza and respond to any attacks.

In Gaza city, people came out from shelters, children played on the street and the beach, and shops reopened for the first time in days.

However, some tried to go back home, only to see scenes of devastation. One local resident said it would be extremely difficult for his wife and children to accept the fact that their home had been destroyed.

Meanwhile, in southern Israel, there was skeptism amid relief. An Israeli mother said she never trusted Hamas, adding that all ceasefire deals so far had been broken.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki visited the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Tuesday, saying Israel should be put on trial in ICC for war crimes in the Gaza conflict.

"We must do everything within our power to enable the International Criminal Court to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the current conflict in Gaza committed by the Israeli government and its army," Malki said at a press conference in The Hague.

"Everything that has happened in the last 28 days is clear evidence of war crimes committed by Israel, amounting to crimes against humanity," Malki added. "Israel is in clear violation of international law."

The ICC has not received any official document from Palestinian authority, indicating its acceptance of ICC jurisdiction or requesting the Prosecutor to set up an investigation into any alleged crimes. Therefore, the ICC has no jurisdiction yet over alleged crimes committed on the territory of Palestine.

However, Malki discussed a timeline and options with the ICC's Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.

Editor: An
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