World

Actions

As Cairo Peace Talks Begin, Media Captures Gaza Rocket Fire

Skepticism hung heavy over the Israel-Hamas peace talks in Cairo Wednesday. Journalists in Gaza saw rockets despite the cease-fire.
Posted at 9:49 AM, Aug 06, 2014

While Israeli and Palestinian leaders agreed to discuss peace, negotiations in Cairo began Wednesday under heavy skepticism the two sides could broker a lasting truce.

The two sides won't be talking directly to each other. Egyptians will act as a go-between sitting down with each side and passing demands back and forth with Israeli negotiators and leaders of Hamas.

CNN's Jake Tapper asked if the Israeli delegation in Cairo has the authority to accept a truce longer than the current cease-fire set to end Friday morning. A response from the prime minister's spokesman showed the uncertainty that's plagued brief truces and a distrust both sides say is well-earned.

MARK REGEV, BENJAMIN NETANYAHU'S SPOKESMAN: "From our point of view, the ball is in Hamas' court. If Hamas wants to restart hostilities, so of course then, we'll be back to square one and Israel will respond." (Via CNN)

Not surprisingly, Hamas' website reflected much the same attitude as a statement about the cease-fire and negotiations translated, in part, "The behavior of the enemy is the one who determines the course of the battle."

Israel began withdrawing troops from Gaza early this week after announcing it had achieved one of its goals to destroy the underground tunnels it says Hamas dug into Israel to stage attacks. (Video via Euronews)

Israel also took heavy criticism in recent weeks for air strikes on populated areas like a United Nations school housing refugees. Israel Defense Forces insist, however, Hamas has time and again fired rockets into Israel from residential areas, effectively using Palestinians as human shields. (Via BBC)

Tuesday night, two separate media outlets with crews on the ground in Gaza seemed to confirm that.

France 24 showed a rocket launch pad it said sat only 50 meters from a hotel occupied by foreign journalists and 100 meters from a United Nations building.

And NDTV of India looked on from its hotel windows over the course of 24 hours Monday into Tuesday as three men it said were Hamas fighters assembled a rocket under a blue tent.

NDTV CORRESPONDENT: "Bang in the middle of what is a residential area of hotels and apartment buildings. ... So that's the rocket being fired Tuesday morning."

NDTV commented Hamas hasn't taken kindly to any attempts to report rocket fire. "But just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel's offensive on Gaza's civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones."

With tunnels destroyed and much of Hamas' rocket supply used, The Jerusalem Post predicts Israel's delegation will focus on demilitarizing the group so it can't rearm in the future.

Hamas continues to demand an end to sanctions that having crippled the Palestinian economy and opening the borders into Israel and Egypt.