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Israel partially lifts Gaza fishing ban as goodwill gesture for final cease-fire

English.news.cn   2014-08-18 03:21:05

JERUSALEM, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- Israel has partially lifted its fishing ban in Gaza to allow fishing within three nautical miles off Gaza shores, the Ha'aretz daily reported on Sunday.

An Israeli official told the daily that the move is a goodwill gesture for reaching a deal that would end Israel's Operation Protective Edge in Gaza that started on July 8, as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are still conducting indirect talks in Cairo.

The Israeli navy has been restricting fishing by Gaza fishermen in the Mediterranean Sea, citing possible security alarms about attempts to deliver weapons by sea. While Israel was launching its military operation in Gaza in July, the Palestinians said that its military enforced a 500-meter restriction on fishing, comparing with a previous distance of three nautical miles off shore.

As the temporary 120-hour truce between Israel and Hamas is set to expire on Monday, it's still uncertain whether the truce would be extended, as was the case in the past two weeks, or the fighting would resume after the deadline.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there would be no permanent cease-fire deal if Israel's security demands "are not met."

For a final cease-fire, Israel demands to demilitarize the Gaza Strip and disarm Hamas, which Hamas vehemently opposes. Israel is also willing to somewhat ease the blockade on the strip, let the Palestinian Authority take over the Gaza border crossings, and provide assistance in rehabilitating the enclave.

But Hamas insists on establishing a seaport and airport in the Gaza Strip, easing Israel's blockade there by opening the Gaza crossings, and releasing 56 Hamas members who were arrested by Israeli forces in the West Bank in June after three Israeli teens were abducted and killed.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been conducting on-off negotiations in Cairo for the past two weeks, hoping to reach a final deal to end Israel's offensive in Gaza, which has killed nearly 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 64 Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians.

Editor: yan
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