(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Israeli negotiators returned to Israel from Cairo on Tuesday upon orders of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, amid a stalemate in the Egyptian-mediated negotiating process involving the Israelis and the Palestinians for halting the hostilities in Gaza, Israel Radio confirmed that the negotiators returned to Tel Aviv after Netanyahu ordered them back and shortly after Palestinian gunners unleashed a fresh salvo of rockets on Israeli towns and settlements.
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Islamic group, Hamas, accused Netanyahu of seeking to torpedo the negotiations. "Netanyahu has chosen to foil the negotiations and resort to escalation .. and he should be prepared to pay for his senseless actions," said Hamas' spokesman in Gaza Fawzi Barhoum in a statement.
"The Palestinian factions are fully prepared to defend Gaza and are studying all options in light of the developments on the ground," he said.
Shortly earlier, Palestinian chief negotiator Azzam Al-Ahmad accused the Israeli delegation involved in talks on prospects of resolving the Gaza crisis of stalemating the negotiations.
There have been no progress whatsoever at the negotiating table and matters have become much more complicated, said Al-Ahmad, cited by the official Egyptian Middle East News Agency (MENA).
He added that the Palestinian delegation "had delivered the latest paper (of proposals on ceasing the fighting) two hours ago to the Egyptian side and we remained waiting for a reply till this moment." Egyptian officials have been mediating between the Israeli and Palestinian officials, engaged in the marathon talks in the Egyptian capital to enforce a viable truce to stop the fighting in Gaza, amid reports about proposals and counterpart proposals from the two sides - such as the Palestinians' key demand to lift the siege on the strip.
"The Israeli delegation is trying to dictate what they want and this is impossible," Al-Ahmad said, charging that the Israeli negotiators were adopting a policy of dodging and procrastination.
Al-Ahmad indicated that he and his fellow negotiators would wait for five hours to receive a reply to the latest paper of proposals on resolving the conflict. "We the Palestinians have been quite flexible," he said.
The Israeli and Palestinian negotiators resumed the Egyptian-mediated indirect talks today, after agreeing to extend a truce for 24 hours, however, it appeared to have been breached with renewed hostilities.