Breakthrough?extended for 24 hours to allow the negotiations to conclude.
A Hamas official said that the Islamist group had agreed to prolong the cease-fire by another 24 hours so as to allow for more negotiations with Egyptian officials in Cairo. Israeli officials, meanwhile, are denying that an agreement is in place.There's a lot more to this story, but most of it seems to be unconfirmed rumors.
Palestinian News Agency Ma'an reported that the Israeli delegation had left Cairo and was set to return to Israel and present the cabinet with the cease-fire agreement to be approved.
The reported deal comes after significant progress was made in Egyptian-mediated cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas, according to Palestinian sources.
While there is no word regarding the nature of the discussions, a number of web sites affiliated with Islamic Jihad as well as independent Palestinian sources say that there has been greater movement by both sides toward a deal.
“There is optimism, and it seems as if the chances of reaching an agreement are better than they’ve ever been thus far,” said a Palestinian source currently in Cairo.
Sources in Cairo told the Ma’an news agency that the Egyptian government has presented a two-tiered plan – one security-oriented, and the other political – which includes a mechanism that could lead to a lifting of the siege on Gaza.
“A six-hour negotiating session today, as well as a nine-hour session on Sunday, led to agreement in a number of areas,” a Palestinian source is quoted as telling Ma’an.
Arutz Sheva adds:
Meanwhile, sources close to the Palestinian delegation in Cairo told the Al Quds newspaper Monday night that there has been a breakthrough in the talks that may make it possible to extend the ceasefire even before it expires at midnight tonight.
"The Egyptian mediator played an important role in the breakthrough,” the sources said, “in refusing the new Israeli demands through which Israel reinforced its objection to the Egyptian initiative.”
There has been no confirmation of this report from any other source.
The Al Mayadeen network reported, meanwhile, that the Israeli delegation returned to Israel and that neither side is interested in renewing the fighting, so the ceasefire that began Thursday is expected to hold.I wouldn't bet on it happening tonight, but maybe tomorrow it will. Or maybe not. As Yogi Berra used to say 'it ain't over 'til it's over.'
UPDATE 12:36 AM
Just to reconfirm, Israel Radio reported at Midnight that there is a 24-hour extension to the current cease fire during which they hope to work out a longer term deal. No one knows what the terms are. Nearly the entire JPost article (linked at the top of this post) is either speculation or 'Palestinian' claims not confirmed by Israel.