Uncertainty as Egypt continues to broker Israeli-Hamas deal

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Uncertainty as Egypt continues to broker Israeli-Hamas deal

Egyptian efforts for a cease fire agreement between the Israeli government and Hamas are again stalling after some optimism last week. A spokesman for Hamas said Palestinian officials from Gaza are expected in the Egyptian capital this week to discuss truce with Israel.
Israel has been pushing the Egyptian government to include kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit in any ceasefire agreement. Hamas opposes such a move, arguing that if the Jewish state is unwilling to accept a prisoner exchange then the ceasefire will not hold. Ayman Taha, a spokesman for the Islamic group, said Hamas officials were willing to listen to Egyptian proposals for the deal. The Palestinian officials will then take those discussions to the Hamas senior leadership before a final decision is taken. Cairo hopes a deal can be reached this week. An Israeli envoy was in Egypt last week to convey the Jewish state’s positions on the proposed ceasefire. On top of the soldier’s release, Israel wants to see an end to weapons smuggling between Gaza and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Hamas, in turn, is demanding that a year-long economic blockade against Gaza be lifted in order to end the suffering of the 1.4 million residents in the small Mediterranean strip of land. Both sides appear unwilling to compromise on the major contentious points.

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