Friday 20 April 2018

Truce holds as talksto find settlement go on

Daryl Rudd

ISRAEL and Hamas observed a second day of a truce as reports of a peace proposal that would include the opening of border crossings emerged during talks in Cairo to find a lasting settlement.

The five-day ceasefire postpones the threat of a return to hostilities that killed more than 1,900 Palestinians, including hundreds of civilians, and 67 people on the Israeli side.

Egyptian newspaper al-Shorouk reported on an 11-point Egyptian proposal that including the opening of border crossings, coordination with the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority over the rebuilding of Gaza, the extension of the Gaza fishing zone, and a Palestinian commitment to halt tunnel building into Israel.

Hamas negotiators met with the militant group's leadership in Qatar to discuss the Egyptian proposal and an official said the group was leaning toward accepting the offer, Associated Press said.

Pressure on both sides intensified as the EU offered to take charge of Gaza's border crossings while insisting on a durable cease-fire, sources reported.

However, there was last night reported criticism from the US State Department of Israeli conduct during the fighting.

An Israel government spokesman Mark Regev declined to comment on the story in the Wall Street Journal, which cited unidentified US officials as saying that they were becoming "increasingly disturbed by what they saw as heavy-handed battlefield tactics that they believed risked a humanitarian catastrophe".

Irish Independent

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