Abbas aide says Palestinians are open to Egypt talks for peace deal

The Palestinians are forming a delegation to meet with Israeli officials in Egypt with hopes of reaching a peace deal, according to an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mohammad Shtayyeh announced the move Sunday on CNN's "State of the Nation," minutes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on the same show that the only chance at peace in Gaza is through an Egypt-brokered deal.

"We want to end this misery of the Palestinian people in order for us really to live with dignity as human beings in an independent state side by side with the Israeli state," Shtayyeh said.


Smoke rises after what witnesses said was an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City on Sunday. (Suhaib Salem/Reuters)

Netanyahu said the Palestinians have continued firing rockets into Israel despite a recent short-term cease-fire.

He said the only way to reach a peace deal is by adopting an "unconditional" Egyptian initiative. He said it has "no conditions except to try to have a cease-fire, a cessation of all hostilities, and try to address the two underlying issues" of security for Israel and social and economic relief for the Palestinians.

Shtayyeh accused the Israelis of heavy-handed defense tactics and exaggerating the threat of rockets being fired from the Gaza, citing a relatively low number of casualties from the attacks. Israeli officials have said that their "Iron Dome" missile defense system has prevented the rockets from causing more deaths.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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