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Limited breakthrough in Cairo ceasefire negotiations

Aug. 12, 2014 5:24 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 13, 2014 9:47 P.M.)
CAIRO (Ma'an) -- Ongoing ceasefire talks are slowly beginning to take shape, sources in Cairo told Ma'an, although several outstanding issues need to be finalized to produce a permanent agreement.

Palestinian sources close to the talks said Tuesday that six points have been agreed upon while a further five need to be resolved.

Israel has agreed to increase the daily number of truckloads of goods to Gaza from 250 to 600 via the Kerem Shalom and Nahal Oz crossings, the sources said.

Israel has also agreed to allow money transfers from the Palestinian Authority to Gaza to cover the salaries of former Hamas civil servants.

The designated fishing zone will also be gradually expanded to 12 nautical miles and some 500 permits will be issued monthly to allow Gazans to use the Erez crossing.

Egypt has agreed to open the Rafah crossing in coordination with PA presidential guards, who would form a 1000-strong presence on the crossing and borders with Gaza.

The sources said that Israel has also agreed to release the fourth and final group of pre-Oslo prisoners.

The remaining issues to be resolved are the infrastructural issues of an airport and seaport in Gaza. Israel suggested postponing the issue of an airport until final status negotiations, but said international actors should prepare plans for how a seaport would operate.

No progress has been made on the issue of demilitarization or a safe passage between the West Bank and Gaza.

The sources said that Israel also wanted to discuss the case of Israeli soldiers' remains being held by Hamas, but the Palestinian delegation argued that it should be addressed at a later date.

Israeli economy minister Naftali Bennet slammed news of progress in the talks, calling the transfer of salaries to former Hamas employees "dangerous," Israeli media reported.

Israel's offensive on Gaza has left nearly 2,000 Palestinians dead, the vast majority of them civilians, in addition to 67 people on the Israeli side, most of them soldiers.
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