Mediators race to extend Gaza ceasefire

Aug 07, 2014, 6:49 AM EDT
GAZA BORDER, ISRAEL - AUGUST 03: Israeli soldiers return from Gaza on August 3, 2014 near the border with Gaza, Israel. As Operation Protective Edge enters its 27th day, a large amount of Israeli ground troops are believed to have left the Gaza Strip. Credit Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images
Ilia Yefimovich/Getty Images

Mediators worked against the clock on Thursday to extend a Gaza truce between Israel and the Palestinians as the three-day ceasefire went into its final 24 hours.

Israel has said it is ready to agree to an extension as Egyptian mediators pursued talks with Israelis and Palestinians on an enduring end to a war that devastated the Hamas-ruled enclave, while Palestinians want an Israeli-Egyptian blockade of Gaza to be lifted and prisoners held by Israel to be freed.
“Indirect talks are ongoing and we still have today to secure this,” an Egyptian official said when asked whether the truce was likely to go beyond Friday. “Egypt’s aims are to stabilise and extend the truce with the agreement of both sides and to begin negotiations towards a permanent agreement to cease fire and ease border restrictions.”
After a month of bitter fighting, the two sides are not meeting face to face.

In taking stock of where the conflict leaves each side, Owen Ullmann of USAToday points out that:

Israel's military success came at the cost of international outrage and mass destruction in Gaza, nearly 1,900 Palestinian lives, mostly civilians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Even staunch allies such as the Untied States condemned the death of hundreds of children and IDF attacks on United Nations schools used as shelters...
Though Hamas largely failed as a fighting force, it did succeed in raising the Palestinian cause again before the eyes of the world — at Israel's expense. And it put back on the negotiating table its demand that Israel and Egypt end an economic blockade that has squeezed Gaza for years.