An Israeli soldier fires a tear gas canister at Palestinian
protesters following a protest against the Israeli
offensive in Gaza, in the West Bank village of Silwad, near
Ramallah. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman
Hamas has rejected as insufficient offers made in Cairo
to Palestinian negotiators seeking to end Israel's offensive in
the Gaza Strip, and raised the possibility of renewed fighting
when the current truce expires.
Israel said it had also not yet accepted any proposals made
in the Egyptian-mediated talks but, like the Palestinians,
its envoys would continue attending them on Sunday.
The ceasefire concludes on Monday night.
Hamas, Gaza's dominant Islamist group, wants an
Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the coastal enclave lifted, as
well as the establishment of a seaport and airport, as part
of any enduring cessation of hostilities with the Jewish
"Israel must accept the demands of the Palestinian people or
face a long war," Osama Hamdan, the head of Hamas's foreign
affairs, said on Facebook.
Israel, which launched its offensive on July 8 after a surge
in cross-border Hamas rocket attacks, has shown scant
interest in making sweeping concessions. The Israelis want
Gaza to be disarmed under any long-term deal - something
Hamas rules out.
Egypt, which is mediating between the sides and, like Israel,
views Hamas as a security threat, has given little detail on
any progress in the talks.
"As of now, Israel has not agreed to any proposals," an
Israeli official said on condition of anonymity.
"Understandings (on a long-term truce) will be reached only
if they clearly satisfy Israel's security interests," the
official added, without elaborating.
Israeli envoys were due to return to Cairo on Sunday, as was
a Palestinian delegation including representatives of Hamas
and of U.S.-backed President Mahmoud Abbas, who brought his
former Islamist rivals into a unity government in April.
Speaking in Ramallah, the seat of his government in the
Israeli-occupied West Bank, Abbas promoted Cairo's mediation.
Turkey and Qatar, regional powers sympathetic to Hamas, have
also sought to serve as go-betweens - to Israel's chagrin.
"Our goal is to stop the fighting and to stick to the
Egyptian initiative, and no other," Abbas said in a televised
The United Nations said 425,000 of the 1.8 million population
of Gaza have been displaced by the war, which has killed more
than 1,900 Palestinians and, on the Israeli side, 64 soldiers
and three civilians.
Most of the Palestinian dead have been non-combatants, Gaza
hospital officials say.
Israel and the Palestinians agreed on Wednesday to extend a
ceasefire agreement in Gaza by five days to continue indirect
negotiations on a lasting truce.
The two sides are not meeting face-to-face in Cairo: Israel
regards Hamas, which advocates its destruction, as a
The Gaza offensive has had broad public support in Israel.
However, the prospect of a long-term truce that improves
Hamas's economic or diplomatic standing has drawn misgivings
among Israelis and within Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
Some Israeli opposition figures point to the war, and the
intractable relationship with Hamas, as cause to rekindle
peace talks with Abbas that Netanyahu froze over the
Palestinian leader's pact with Hamas.
Abbas, for his part, had chafed at Jewish settlement-building
in the West Bank, where, along with Gaza, Palestinians seek
Several thousand Israelis from left-wing parties and activist
groups demonstrated against government policy in Tel Aviv on
"When there is no peace, war comes," read one protestor's