Israel carries out an incursion into the Gaza Strip on the first day of the renewed reconciliation talks between Tel Aviv and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"Few hours ago, Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun…, where Israeli laborers were seen fixing the security fence in the so-called buffer zone," said Press TV’s correspondent in the enclave, Ashraf Shannon, reporting on the Thursday incident.
"The buffer zone is an area of 300 meters along the Gaza Strip, declared by Israel, to prevent people from reaching there, especially farmers. But basically they are forcing a 1,000-meter no-go zone in that area. All the people were killed there, including civilians, women and children as well as farmers," he added.
The intrusion came as Israeli and PA officials are in Washington to resume the direct negotiations that broke off at the turn of 2009, when Israel launched a full-scale war on Gaza, killing more than 1,400 Palestinians.
Many Palestinian groups have already abandoned hope in the US-brokered revival of talks, citing the White House’s partiality towards Tel Aviv and saying that the acting PA chief, Mahmoud Abbas, does not represent all the Palestinians.
The US authorities refuse to accept the Gaza-based Palestinian resistance movement, Hamas, as a negotiating partner.
The movement, which was chosen to rule the strip during democratic elections in 2006, headed off the Gaza War and has been defending the strip’s residents against the Israeli military’s regular forays.
Nearly1.5 million Gazans have also suffered more than three years under an all-out siege, which was imposed on them by Tel Aviv a year after Hamas acceded to power.
"Last night, when they spoke in Washington, they failed to mention anything about the Gaza Strip. And today Hamas and the Islamic Jihad denounced the negotiations in Washington. Hamas said that any agreement signed by…Abbas is not binding to the Palestinian people, while the Islamic Jihad movement in Palestine said that these negotiations are just a prelude to a possible new war against a country or countries in the Middle East," our correspondent said.
PA was reportedly railroaded into joining the talks after being threatened by Washington to lose American ties.
The organization had earlier insisted that it would resume the process only after the similarly American-mediated indirect talks bore fruit. Known as "proximity" talks, the negotiations failed due to Israel’s regular defiance of the Palestinian condition of halting the construction of illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian lands.
In keeping with the defiance, Jewish settlers announced plans to launch new constructions, Reuters reported.
Tel Aviv has as well so far ignored the other Palestinian demands to fully withdraw from the borders of 1967, when it occupied the Palestinian territory of the West Bank. The PA has also called for the resumption of negotiations from the point they were left off following the Israeli attacks.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has, however, said that there would be no room for any conditions for the talks — a point also favored by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.