U.S. trying to secure cease-fire between Israel, Hamas
More than 500 people have died in the Gaza Strip fighting, the vast majority of them Palestinians, as Israel has pursued an air and ground offensive to try to stop rocket attacks on its territory from the Hamas-dominated Gaza Strip.
Among the complexities are the fact that the United States has no direct contact with Hamas, which it regards as a terrorist group, and so must work through proxies, including Egypt and Qatar, which have their own tensions with the group.
“We believe that the effort to reach a cease-fire this time around is going to be in some ways more complicated than it was in 2012,” said the U.S. official.
Among Hamas’ conditions are the lifting of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on Gaza and the release of several hundred Palestinians arrested by Israel last month during its search for three Jewish teenagers abducted in the occupied West Bank. The trio were later found dead in a killing Israel blamed on Hamas.
“The initiative clearly states that border crossings get opened after a ceasefire and when security stabilizes,” Shukri said at a news conference with U.N. chief Ban in Cairo.
“If you really want to discuss all these conditions it will take a long time... I’m urging that unconditionally that violence must be stopped by both sides,” said Ban.
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