JERUSALEM — Israel and Palestinian militants from the Gaza Strip began indirect talks today in Egypt aimed at forging a new era of relations between the bitter enemies following a cease-fire that ended the heaviest fighting in nearly four years.
The talks, being mediated by Egypt, were the first negotiations since the cease-fire took effect last Wednesday, halting eight days of airstrikes targeting militant groups in the Palestinian territory and rocket attacks that reached deep into Israel.
Israel launched some 1,500 airstrikes in a bid to end rocket attacks out of Gaza, while the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad militant groups fired a similar number of rockets at Israeli cities. More than 160 Palestinians, including dozens of civilians were killed. Palestinian attacks killed six Israelis, including four civilians and two soldiers.
Now that fighting has subsided, Egypt is working with the sides on carrying out the second phase of the agreement: negotiating new border arrangements for the impoverished coastal strip.