Egyptian delegation leaves Gaza after truce talks

By Mustafa Habbush

GAZA CITY, Palestine (AA) – A security delegation from the Egyptian intelligence service left the Gaza Strip on Saturday after talks aimed at reaching a ceasefire between resistance factions and Israel and healing inter-Palestinian rift.

The delegation left the strip via the Erez crossing following a two-day visit, a Palestinian security official said on condition of anonymity because he was no authorized to speak to media.

The source did not give details where the delegation was heading.

The delegation had held talks with leaders of Gaza-based Palestinian factions with a view to brokering a truce between them and Israel and healing a rift between rival groups Hamas and Fatah.

The Egyptian delegation has been holding a shuttle diplomacy between the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Israel for weeks, during which they are meeting with officials of Hamas, rival group Fatah and the Israeli government.

An informed Palestinian source earlier told Anadolu Agency that Egypt’s intelligence agency had made "significant progress" in truce negotiations.

According to leaked information, the proposed agreement calls for easing Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip in exchange for a halt to the ongoing protests along the buffer zone.

Since March 30, Gaza-based political factions — especially Hamas and Islamic Jihad — have organized almost daily demonstrations along the buffer zone.

Protesters demand the right to return to their homes and villages in historical Palestine, from which they were driven in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.

They also demand an end to Israel’s 12-year blockade of the Gaza Strip, which has gutted the coastal enclave’s economy and deprived its two million inhabitants of many basic commodities, including food, fuel and medicine.

Since the rallies began some seven months ago, more than 200 Palestinians have been martyred — and thousands more injured — by Israeli troops deployed along the other side of the buffer zone.