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Indirect ceasefire negotiations to resume Monday in Cairo

Oct. 23, 2014 7:46 P.M. (Updated: Oct. 25, 2014 4:55 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Indirect negotiations between Palestinians and Israel in the wake of the 50-day Gaza assault will resume on October 27, an Islamic Jihad leader said Thursday.

Khalid al-Batsh told Ma'an that the Egyptian side had sent both sides invitations to resume indirect negotiations on Monday, and that the agenda will focus on expanding the zone allowed to Gaza fishermen as well as other topics raised in earlier rounds of talks but not settled.

He pointed out that the Israeli violations of the ceasefire should be "confronted in the field" and that the resistance should fight back against these violations immediately, adding that putting an end to these violations will be on the Palestinian delegation's agenda.

For the most part, however, al-Batsh said that the agenda would remain similar to earlier rounds of talks due to Israel's failure to fulfill a number of key demands.

Israel and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip ended over seven weeks of fighting on Aug. 26 with a long-term ceasefire agreement in which Israel agreed to ease its siege on the coastal enclave and immediately expand the fishing zone off its coast.

Further negotiations regarding other key unresolved issues took place in September.

Despite Israeli promises, there have been widespread reports that the fishing zone has not been increased as promised, with numerous instances of Palestinian fishermen claiming to have been fired upon by Israeli forces well within the newly-imposed six-mile limit.

Israel has severely limited Gaza's imports and exports since 2006, also imposing a no-go buffer zone ranging from 500 to 1,500 meters from the border, an area encompassing 17 percent of Gaza's total land.

The siege has led to frequent humanitarian crises for Gazans, and the UN and various human rights groups have repeatedly called on Israel to lift it.

Lifting the blockade was Palestinian factions' chief demand in negotiations to end the fighting, which left over 2,100 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians, in addition to 71 Israelis, most of them soldiers.
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