Ramallah, Asharq Al-Awsat—A Palestinian negotiator said that the indirect Cairo-mediated truce negotiations with Israel could resume shortly, despite the collapse of the previous ceasefire and the exchange of rocket and missile fire between Israel and the Gaza Strip on Wednesday and Thursday.
Palestinian diplomat Qais Abdul Karim, a member of the Palestinian delegation in Cairo, told Asharq Al-Awsat that the delegation does not consider the negotiation process to be over, and is waiting for Cairo to invite the parties to resume the talks.
“We told the Egyptians that the withdrawal of the Israelis does not end the negotiation process for us, even if the talks have been temporarily suspended. We told them that when Egypt believes that the climate [for negotiations] is suitable, we will return,” Abdul Karim said.
Qais Abdul Karim is leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a secular, communist political and military organization which broke away from Fatah in the 1960s.
He accused the Israeli government of purposefully seeking to derail the negotiations, adding that the Palestinians will not allow this to happen.
“Just one hour after we submitted a memorandum demonstrating our flexibility [towards the Israeli demands] the Israelis [said] that rockets had been fired from Gaza and quickly walked out of the negotiations and escalated the situation on the ground. I believe that our acceptance embarrassed the Israeli delegation and precipitated Tel Aviv’s decision to withdraw,” he said.
“They wanted to militarily impose what they could not secure politically, but I believe this attempt will ultimately not succeed,” Abdul Karim told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Abdul Karim said that the Palestinian and Israeli delegations had been moving closer on reaching an overreaching settlement on Gaza prior to the collapse of the ceasefire on Wednesday, contradicting earlier comments by Hamas deputy leader Musa Abu-Marzuq, who told Asharq Al-Awsat on Wednesday that the talks were still in their early stages.
“We were ten words away from an agreement,” Abdul Karim said, adding that “however, these were ten fateful words that would have specified the details [of the settlement].”
“For example, we want the freedom of movement, while they want to ‘facilitate’ movement. There is an important linguistic difference in the meaning and implication of these two positions,” he added.