Israel Defense Forces and Hamas leaders have been in indirect talks in Cairo throughout a five-day ceasefire. As the ceasefire nears its expiration time of 5:00 p.m. EDT, world leaders are concerned that the two sides have not indicated any sign of a peace agreement.
According to Egyptian state news agency MENA, the Cairo mediators are “making a big effort to reach an agreement in the coming hours,” as the ceasefire’s expiration time draws closer.
Reuters reports that Hamas has demanded that the Israel blockade of the Gaza strip be lifted, a Gaza sea port be constructed, and an airport be reopened. Israel has said it will not agree to peace until Hamas is stripped of its weapons, which the militant group has said is not an option.
Israel Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, a member of the prime minister’s security cabinet said that Israel currently plans to respond if Hamas were to launch missiles when the ceasefire is lifted.
Over 2,000 people have lost lives as a result of the conflict; About 425,000 Palestinians have been forced out of their homes in search of shelter.
Publication date: August 18, 2014