Arab League chief exhorts world powers to end Israeli assault on Gaza
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Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby called on the international community, and especially the UN Security Council, to take all necessary measures to end Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip.

In an emergency meeting  convened by the league’s Foreign Ministerial Council on Monday, Araby emphasized the need to end the Israeli occupation and establish a Palestinian state, reported the state-owned newspaper Al-Ahram.

The international community has become increasingly committed to changing the grim reality confronting Palestinians, Araby said, a sentiment that should materialize in efforts to end the bloodshed.

Foreign ministers from Arab states must cooperate to pave the way for an official visit to Gaza as soon as possible to show solidarity and deliver aid, the secretary general asserted.

At the meeting, Saeb Erakat — chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority — called for a seven-day cease-fire to permit aid to enter the strip, Al-Ahram reported.

Erakat exhorted Araby to work with the UN, the European Union and other world powers to allow aerial, onshore and offshore access to Gaza to deliver the critically needed aid.

The chief negotiator also lauded Egypt’s efforts in working toward ending the deadly conflict.

On Sunday night, Palestinian and Israeli representatives accepted a new 72-hour cease-fire initiative proposed during talks in Cairo.

On Monday, an Israeli delegation arrived in Cairo for negotiations with officials from Palestinian factions, state media reported.

Egypt has been brokering talks between Palestinian and Israeli representatives to reach a long-term end to the crisis. Israel’s military offensive is now entering its second month and has claimed more than 1,900 Palestinians lives, the majority of them civilians.

Last month, an Egypt-brokered cease-fire initiative failed when Hamas objected to the content of the proposal and the way it was communicated to its leaders. Though Israel agreed to the initiative, Hamas leaders rebuked Egypt for poor communication in the negotiations, and said the party would not agree to a cease-fire without guarantees that the blockade on Gaza would be lifted.


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