Palestinian factions agree to 72-hour ceasefire
Palestinian officials involved in the Cairo talks said that the three-day ceasefire agreement is likely to pave the way for a full cessation to fighting, which has killed over 1,800 Palestinians.
Representatives from Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, held their first official meeting on Monday after a Palestinian delegation agreed Sunday to joint demands to present to Egyptian mediators.
Cairo will then relay the demands to Israel, which baulked at sending negotiators after accusing Hamas of breaching a 72-hour truce moments after it began on Friday.
"There is a consensus among all the Palestinian factions that Gaza can't return to a blockade... it is a natural right of the people of Gaza to live (freely) as any other people in the world," senior Hamas official, and member of the Palestinian delegation, Ezzat al-Rishq, said.
This could help "Egypt perform its role in halting the (Israeli) aggression and achieving the Palestinian demands through negotiations it is conducting with the two sides," he told reporters.
On Sunday, Palestinian factions agreed on "a ceasefire; Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza; the end of the siege of Gaza and opening its border crossings," said Maher al-Taher, a member of the delegation.
The Palestinian demands also include fishing rights up to 12 nautical miles off Gaza's coast and the release of Palestinian prisoners demanded by Hamas and Abbas, said Taher, a senior official with the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
Cairo, a traditional broker in Palestinian-Israeli conflicts, has moved to isolate Hamas on its eastern border after the Egyptian military overthrew the Islamist government last year.
Israel's assault on Gaza has killed over 1,800 Palestinians, far surpassing the death toll in Operation Cast Lead.