By JONATHAN TOPAZ |
7/27/14 9:54 AM EDT
An adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said on Sunday forming a delegation to go to Cairo in hopes of reaching a peace agreement with Israel.
Mohammad Shtayyeh's comments on CNN's "State of the Union" came minutes after an appearance by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said the only chance at peace was through an Egypt-brokered deal.
Though he expressed openness to a peace deal in Egypt, Shtayyeh slammed Israel for its attacks in Gaza and for causing a large number of Palestinian civilian causalities.
“1,080 Palestinians have been killed in the last 18 days. 80 percent of them are innocent people. … These people have no place to go," he said.
The Associated Press reported Saturday night that 1,047 Palestinians had died since the conflict began, with more than 6,000 wounded, compared with fewer than 50 Israelis. The United Nations estimated last week that 75 percent of those Palestinians who had been killed were civilians.
Citing the very low Israeli civilian death toll, Shtayyeh said that the Israeli government was overstating the threat from Palestinian rockets. Israeli officials have said that the Iron Dome missile defense technology has prevented a massive number of civilian casualties that could have resulted from Palestinian rocket fire.
On Sunday, Shtayyeh railed against Israeli aggressions and said "Israel has a hidden agenda — to totally destroy” the joint Hamas-PLO government.
His interview came after Netanyahu expressed skepticism about a cease-fire offered by Hamas on Sunday. Netanyahu said Hamas had already violated the cease-fire by continuing to use rockets against Israel.
Shtayyeh said the Abbas government is looking for a lasting peace. “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," he said.