PLO: Gaza Ceasefire Rests on Addressing 'Political Problem'

Image: PLO: Gaza Ceasefire Rests on Addressing 'Political Problem' An Israeli canon fires a 155mm shell toward the Gaza Strip from their position near Israel's border with the Palestinian enclave. (David Buimovitch/Stringer/Getty Images)

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 12:12 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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A ceasefire in the battle between Israelis and Palestinians rests on addressing the "political problem" at the heart of the conflict, said Ambassador Maen Rashid Areikat, the Palestine Liberation Organization's representative to the United States.

Israel's "excessive use of force" over the past week in Gaza, which has led to the deaths of 735 Palestinians, was "not contributing positively to the efforts to reach a ceasefire," Areikat told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

"There is a political problem that needs to be addressed. Ceasefire is a necessity, is an urgent necessity. But, in addition to that, the root causes, the underlining causes of this conflict must be addressed," Areikat said Thursday.

Areikat said the "Palestinian leadership" was in agreement that Israel must lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, something the Israelis had agreed to do in a ceasefire brokered by Egypt in 2012. Since Israel "did not comply with the aspect of lifting the blockade," he said there had to be conditions for a ceasefire to take place.

"Of course, we are interested in stopping the bloodshed. Israel is much more powerful than the Palestinians. We understand that. But, there has to be a political aspect with guarantees," he said.

While U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had been in talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Areikat said future talks could include representatives from Palestinian Islamic organization Hamas, the group that has objected to recent ceasefire proposals.

"I think, eventually, the United States and all the parties should be talking to all different factions within the Palestinian society," he said.

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