Kerry: Gaza truce should lead to negotiations

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announces a 72-hour humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, while in New Delhi August 1, 2014. (Reuters)

The ceasefire currently observed in Gaza should lead to “broader" talks that concentrate efforts on the need to negotiate a two-state solution, United State Secretary of State John Kerry told the BBC on Wednesday.

“What we want to do is support the Palestinians in their desire to improve their lives and to get food in and to open crossings and to reconstruct and have greater freedom” Kerry said in response to whether or not he supports Palestinian demands of lifting the Gaza blockade.

Kerry added that these 'freedoms' would come “with a greater responsibility towards Israel, which means giving up rockets".

Reiterating that the U.S. supports Israel's right to defend itself, Kerry said Hamas had "behaved in an unbelievably shocking manner engaging in this activity and, yes, there has been horrible collateral damage as a result".

Now that the situation “has evolved” Kerry explained that a “broader approach to the underlying” two-state solution would provide security for the Israelis and a “better life and greater freedoms for the Palestinians.”

Israel withdrew ground forces from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday and started a 72-hour ceasefire with Hamas as a first step toward negotiations on a more enduring end to the month-old war, Reuters news agency reported.

However, minutes before the truce began at 8 a.m. (0500 GMT), Hamas launched a round of rockets, calling them revenge for Israel's "massacres," the agency said. Israel's anti-missile system shot down one rocket over Jerusalem, Reuters quoted police as saying. Another hit a house in a town near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank. There were no casualties.

Egyptian officials mediating talks for a durable truce in Gaza met an Israel delegation during the night and were to relay their demands to Palestinian representatives, Palestinian sources told Agence-France Presse Wednesday.

Gaza officials say the war has killed more than 1,900 Palestinians, most of them civilians. Israel says 64 of its soldiers and three civilians have been killed since fighting began on July 8.

 

 

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:42 - GMT 06:42
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