Israeli and Palestinian delegations reconvened in Cairo on Sunday to continue Egyptian-mediated talks for a long-term cease-fire to end the Gaza crisis.
Egypt is trying to secure the parties’ agreement to a proposal it hopes could be a bridge between
Last week's optimism about the chances for an agreement before the current truce expires Monday night dimmed over the weekend as both sides expressed reservations to an 11-point Egyptian proposal, saying it falls short of fulfilling their interests.
The proposal calls for an immediate cessation of fire and partial lifting of restrictions. Additional issues, including the exchanging of bodies and prisoners, would be concluded within a month, once the cease-fire has stabilized and life in Gaza normalized.
While efforts resumed in Cairo, elsewhere officials talked tough, hinting rejection.
Israel will agree to reach an understanding only if there is a clear response to its security needs, Prime Minister
Hamas was mistaken if it thinks "it can cover up its military loss with a diplomatic achievement," Netanyahu said, warning that continued sporadic fire would not yield Israeli concessions.
Hamas spokesperson Sami abu Zuhri dismissed Netanyahu's comments as designed to placate domestic criticism while another official, Osama Hamdan, called Israel to choose between accepting the Palestinian people's demands and preparations for a "prolonged war."
It is not immediately clear whether hostilities would resume if the truce expired Monday night without an agreement.
Several Israeli officials suggested Israel might prefer a unilateral move over an agreement that doesn't include stipulations for long-term demilitarization and bars the army from acting against militants' actions, if these continue.
Israel could ease restrictions to allow humanitarian goods into Gaza but nothing beyond, so long as an arrangement to block Hamas' military buildup hasn't been reached, Security Cabinet member and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan told Israeli media.
Thousands demonstrated in Tel-Aviv on Saturday night and called for a diplomatic resolution with the Palestinians instead of war. Opposition lawmaker Zehava Galon called on Netanyahu to resign, citing the government's failure to conduct genuine peace talks during Netanyahu's five years in office.