Slow progress reported in Cairo talks on cease-fire’s final day

Ben Sales

(JTA) — Israel and Hamas have reportedly made slow progress in truce talks on the final day of a cease-fire between the sides.

According to the Associated Press, Israel and Hamas entered negotiations on Wednesday in Cairo with Egyptian mediators proposing Israel ease portions of its blockade of Gaza in return for a full end to fighting. Larger issues, such as Israel’s demand for Hamas to disarm, or  Hamas’ demand for a full lift of Israel’s blockade, would be left for later negotiations. The sides are still considering the proposal.

Hamas is also demanding construction of an airport and seaport in Gaza.

The current three-day ceasefire began at midnight on Monday and is due to expire at Wednesday’s end. Absent an agreement, it remained unclear whether the cease-fire would continue beyond that point.

Although the sides have refrained from strikes while the cease-fire is in effect, five people died in Gaza Wednesday while attempting to defuse an un-detonated Israeli missile. Israel also fired warning shots at Gaza fishermen who approached a prohibited zone off the Gaza coast, with no injuries reported.