Gaza Ceasefire Talks Fail on Israeli Demands for More ‘Buffer’ Zones

Netanyahu Claims Negotiations Haven't Even Really Begun

by Jason Ditz, November 18, 2012

Multiple reports on the status of the Gaza ceasefire differ on key points, but one thing is clear: the negotiations have failed for now, and the Israeli government continues to insist that the talks aren’t serious in the first place.

A key reason for the failure, according to Hamas, was a litany of new Israeli demands issued before they would consider ending their attacks. Hamas reportedly agreed to the bulk of the terms but balked at Israeli demands to create an even bigger “buffer zone” between Israel and the tiny strip, carved entirely out of Gazan territory.

Israel has already imposed a de facto “no-go” area for the 300 meters of Gaza that borders Israeli territory, and while this doesn’t sound significant it actually carves a significant chunk out of the narrow enclave, which is only a few kilometers wide in parts. This “no-go” area mostly consists of farmland, and Israeli troops have regularly killed farmers they accused of crossing the boundary. It is unclear how much more territory Israel sought.

Even though there were multiple sources confirming the talks in some form, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to deny that any talks were taking place at all, insisting that it was only possible for Israel to even consider negotiation after all retaliatory strikes had ended. Though the number of rockets fired out of Gaza dropped significantly today, the large number of civilian deaths in Israeli attacks has many militant factions looking to score points by continuing their retaliation.

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