Abbas hands Kerry initiative for Gaza ceasefire
RAMALLAH, July 23 (Xinhua) -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas handed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry a ceasefire initiative to present to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during their meeting later Wednesday, a Palestinian official said.
"Kerry would present the initiative to the Egyptian leadership on Wednesday or Thursday," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity, adding that the initiative is based on the Egyptian- proposed ceasefire plan, but it is more detailed.
"President Abbas' initiative calls for a ceasefire between Palestinian factions and the Israeli army within hours that would last for five days," the official said.
According to the official, discussions between the parties concerned would be held during the five days of truce on lifting the blockade on Gaza and opening the Gaza crossings under the full control of the Palestinian presidential guard as well as the reconstruction of Gaza.
Meanwhile, issues such as the fishing area offshore Gaza, lifting the buffer zone along the Gaza-Israel borders, would also be discussed; and the release of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails would be discussed later, the official added.
Regional and international efforts to end the ongoing fighting between Israel and Palestinian factions in Gaza have been going on. However, all endeavors have not yielded any results so far.
The ongoing fighting Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, which started on July 8 to end Palestinian rocket fire into Israel, has so for claimed the lives of 695 Palestinians and injured more than 4,000 others. Israel has lost four civilians and 28 soldiers so far.