Peace talks aimed at ending the Gaza conflict were thrown into doubt Friday after members of the Palestinian delegation said they had been told they were no longer welcome following the collapse of a 72-hour ceasefire. Bassam Al-Salhi, a member of the Palestinian team, said Egypt – which is hosting the talks – informed them it was not willing to receive them in light of Friday morning’s violence.
Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns was among the diplomats scrambling to reach Cairo after the cease-fire was announced late Thursday. But with hostilities continuing between Israel and Hamas, it was not clear what talks - if any - would take place. The Palestinian delegation was comprised of Hamas, Western-backed Fatah, the Islamic Jihad militant group and a number of smaller factions. Senior State Department figures were already planning what they called "unusual choreography" to avoid U.S. officials sitting face to face with Hamas, which Washington categorizes as a terrorist organization.
- Richard Engel, Andrea Mitchell and Alastair Jamieson
First published August 1 2014, 5:38 AM