Egypt launches initiative to halt Israel-Palestinian conflict
Wednesday, 16 July 2014 00:00
Reuters: Egypt launched an initiative on Monday to halt fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants, proposing a ceasefire to be followed by talks in Cairo on settling the conflict in which Gaza authorities say more than 170 people have died.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will convene his decision-making security cabinet on Tuesday to discuss the proposal on the Gaza violence, an Israeli official said.
The militants resumed rocket attacks on Tel Aviv on Monday after a 24-hour lull in strikes on the Israeli commercial capital, while Israel kept up its air and naval bombardments of the Gaza Strip despite the growing international pressure for a ceasefire.
Egypt’s proposal, which would take effect at 0600 GMT on Tuesday, calls for a ceasefire within 12 hours of that time, followed by negotiations between both sides in Cairo within 48 hours, the State news agency MENA said.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman told State television that Egypt would seek Arab backing for the initiative at an extraordinary meeting of the Arab League on Monday night.
Asked if there would be a ceasefire on Tuesday morning, an Egyptian official told Reuters: “We hope so.”
“We are not at the negotiations stage yet. First the sides would cease fire and then each will send delegations to Egypt to discuss the terms,” the official added.
So far the international calls for a ceasefire have had little effect and there were no immediate signs that the initiative by Egypt – which struck a peace treaty with Israel more than 30 years ago – would necessarily succeed.