Hamas talks of ‘real chance’ for Gaza agreement with Israel

The Guardian reports: Hamas believes there is a “real opportunity” to reach an agreement with Israel in Cairo negotiations to end the conflict in Gaza, saying it is “not interested in more bloodshed”.

The positive signals from the Islamist organisation, which has fought a 30-day war with Israel, came after mediators brokered a five-day extension to the current ceasefire shortly before a midnight deadline on Wednesday.

Despite there being some rocket fire from Gaza and air strikes by Israel as efforts to extend the truce went to the wire, the ceasefire held throughout Thursday. It expires at midnight on Monday.

Both the Palestinian and Israeli delegations left Cairo for a break in the talks, which are expected to resume on Sunday.

The Hamas negotiator Khalil al-Hayya, who returned to Gaza to brief the local leadership, told reporters: “There is still a real chance to clinch an agreement, but Israel must stop playing with words.”

He added: “We are not interested in more destruction for our people. We are not interested in more bloodshed.”

But, he said, Hamas would not sign an agreement that did not “meet our people’s demands”, and he warned that the organisation could “renew the battle” with greater strength. [Continue reading…]

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