Israeli official returns to Egypt for Gaza ceasefire talks
A senior Israeli official returned to the Egyptian capital of Cairo on Friday following talks with Egyptian mediators on Thursday for a ceasefire in the warring Gaza Strip, reported Xinhua.
Amos Gilad, head of the Diplomatic-Security Bureau of Israeli Defense Ministry, arrived here on Friday morning and is expected to meet with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman, who is in charge of the Egyptian mediation talks between Hamas and Israel.
The two sides are likely to further discuss details of an Egyptian ceasefire proposal presented by President Hosni Mubarak on Jan. 6.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni decided on Thursday night to let Gilad visit Cairo again after hearing his report on Thursday's talks.
According to Egyptian media reports, Israel responded to the Egyptian ceasefire initiative "favorably," but had some " reservations" on Hamas' vision.
On Wednesday, a Hamas delegation presented a detailed vision to the Egyptian truce initiative.
Salah al-Bardawil, a member of the Hamas delegation for talks with Egyptian officials on Gaza ceasefire, said at a press conference here on Wednesday evening that "We have no difference with Egyptian leadership (on a ceasefire)."
In addition, Hamas said Thursday it has told Egyptian mediators that it is ready to accept a one-year renewable truce with Israel in Gaza if Israel pulls out its troops from the Palestinian enclave within a week and reopens Gaza border crossings with international guarantees.
Israeli diplomatic-security cabinet was scheduled to meet Friday to vote on the Egyptian offer, but it has decided to put off the debate until Gilad returns from Cairo with an additional report.
The Israeli military operation against Gaza launched on Dec. 27, 2008, has so far killed over 1,133 Palestinians and wounded 5,000 others.