An Israeli soldier celebrates atop an armored personnel carrier as they return from the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip after pulling out of the Palestinian enclave. Photo: AFP
Hamas accused Israel yesterday of trying to scuttle truce talks in
Cairo, saying the Jewish state refused to send negotiators to avoid questioning over the "escalating massacres" in Gaza.
A Palestinian delegation, which includes members of Gaza's Hamas rulers and president Mahmud Abbas's Palestinian Authority, agreed on Sunday joint demands for a truce with Israel, including an end to the Gaza blockade.
Members of the delegation handed the demands yesterday to Egyptian intelligence chief Mohamed Farid Tohamy, the Egyptian state news agency MENA reported.
Egypt is expected to relay those demands to the Israelis.
Israel refused sending negotiators to the Cairo truce talks, accusing Hamas of breaching a 72-hour humanitarian truce hours after it began on Friday.
Hamas said yesterday it was Israel which breached that truce and was now trying to foil the Cairo talks.
Senior Hamas official, and member of the Palestinian delegation, Ezzat al-Rishq told reporters Israel is staying away from the talks "because it does not want to bear responsibility for the massacres it has committed" in Gaza.
The Palestinian demands agreed on Sunday include "a ceasefire; Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza; the end of the siege of Gaza and opening its border crossings".
They have also demanded fishing rights up to 12 nautical miles off Gaza's coast and the release of Palestinian prisoners demanded by Hamas and Abbas.