Upcoming peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian unity government were postponed indefinitely on Sunday due to “precautionary security measures taken in the Sinai Peninsula,” said a senior Hamas official.
Bassem Neim, a senior member of Hamas, added that the postponement of peace talks will not throw the recent ceasefire agreement into question because neither side has any interested in escalating the already heated tensions.
According to Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum, “Egypt officially told [both sides] to postpone the round of indirect negotiations with the Israeli occupation in Cairo” due to attacks against Egyptian military forces in the Sinai on Friday that led to the death of at least 30 army personnel and the injury of 30 more.
Bahroum also did not comment on when the peace talks would be resumed.
Also on Sunday, Hamas leader Salah Al-Bardawil condemned the attack on the Egyptian security forces, saying in a statement that “what is happening in the Sinai Peninsula hurts the heart of every Arab, Palestinian, and Muslim.”
Hamas called upon all “wise people” to condemn Friday’s bloodshed.
The Gaza Strip continues to suffer the repercussions of damage in the aftermath of 50-day long Israeli military operations that began on 7 July and ended on 26 August. Israel killed at least 2,149 Palestinians – including 942 women and children. The Israeli death toll was 69, including three civilians and one child.
According to a United Nations estimate, this summer’s hostilities between Israel and Palestinian factions “left 108,000 people homeless, completely destroyed 26 schools and 4 primary health centres, and destroyed or damaged 350 businesses and 17,000 hectares of agricultural land” in the Gaza Strip. The UN Development Programme added that unemployment, at 45% before Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, has climbed even higher.
Gaza’s only power plant and two major sewage treatment plants were also damaged.