Palestinian factions call for resumption of Egyptian-brokered talks with Israel

Following the death of a Hamas fighter shot by the Israeli army, Palestinian factions have called on Egypt to resume its role as broker in the truce it negotiated in August.

Palestinian factions called on Egypt in their meeting on Thursday in Gaza to resume its status as broker in the negotiations between them and Israel to maintain peace in the strip, Egypt’s state-run MENA news agency reported.

The factions met on Thursday following a statement made by Hamas on Wednesday, which called for a meeting after one of its members was shot by the Israeli army.

Israel launched an air strike and tank fire in southern Gaza Wednesday and killed a Hamas fighter after an attack on a border patrol, AFP reported.

In a press conference after the meeting, Khaled Al-Batsh, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad, called on Egypt to resume the negotiations immediately to pressure the Israeli enemy into stopping its aggression on Palestinians, MENA reported.

Al-Batsh held Israel responsible for the latest escalation, which he regarded as a breach of the Egyptian-brokered truce following the Israeli assault on Gaza this past summer. He also stressed that the Palestinian people have a right to defend themselves against Israeli aggression.

On its part, the Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades, the military wing of the Palestinian popular resistance, said during the press conference that Israel “shall pay the price of violating the terms of the truce”, adding that its members would “respond immediately to any act of aggression.”

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah did not attend the meeting.

Fatah spokesperson Fayez Abu Atiya told the Palestinian Maan news agency that the movement is awaiting the results of a probe on the Gaza explosion targeting Fatah leaders, which is being carried out by several Palestinian factions.

Abu Atiya called on the factions and particularly Hamas to work on the explosions probe as Fatah has not received any results.

On 18 December, Palestinian factions Popular Front, Democratic Front and Islamic Jihad announced a political initiative that seeks to revitalise a unity government.

The initiative aims to form a committee of all factions and prominent Palestinian figures to support the unity government in practicing its role in Gaza and continue the ongoing probe over the Gaza explosion.

The Israeli military struck Khan Younis, south of the Gaza Strip early Saturday in its first airstrike on the besieged Palestinian territory since their assault on Gaza this summer.

An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between the Palestinian factions and Israel reached on 26 August ended a 50-day Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip. Nearly 2,200 Palestinians lost their lives during the offensive, in addition to more than 12,000 injured, most of whom were civilians.

On the Israeli side, 73 were killed, mostly soldiers. The Israeli destruction of homes during the assault left tens of thousands of Palestinians homeless.