Israel and Gaza’s 72-hour ceasefire expired, but the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas seem to be extending the truce longer. Rocketfire was exchanged on Wednesday night immediately after the 72 hours ended, first with Hamas firing, followed by a IDF response; the rocket fire ended quickly and the border has been quiet in the hours since.
Israel and Gaza have reportedly accepted a 5-day extension of the original ceasefire agreement, despite the short outbreak of violence.
During the ceasefire, IDF and Hamas leaders have been engaging in indirect peace talks, using Egyptian officials as go-betweens.
Palestinian negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed said that progress was being made in the talks. “There remains a positive atmosphere towards reaching a comprehensive agreement. But there are still sticking points,” he said.
Al-Ahmed is referring to the conflicting demands of Hamas and the IDF. Hamas has demanded that the borders be opened and its prisoners released; at the same time, Israel has asked for Hamas to destroy its weapons.
Israeli spokesman Mark Regev said, “"If there's no hostile fire from Gaza into Israel, of course we can have serious discussions about easing restrictions. They're only there in the first place as a response to the violence."
Publication date: August 14, 2014