Israel set out limited goals for Gaza truce talks on Sunday, saying the focus was on a proposal to ease its closure on the Gaza Strip in return for the Palestinians calming their side of the frontier.
The Israeli statement came hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was due to convene his security cabinet to discuss, and possibly approve, UN- and Egyptian-brokered ideas for preventing another Gaza war.
The United Nations and Egypt have not publicly detailed their proposals. They have spoken generally of a need to improve humanitarian conditions in Gaza, stem cross-border hostilities and reconcile Hamas – which refuses formal peacemaking with Israel – to its Western-backed Palestinian rivals.
— daud abdullah (@abdullahdaud74) August 5, 2018
Gaza, under years of grinding Israeli and Egyptian blockades aimed at isolating Hamas, has seen a surge in tensions since Palestinians launched weekly border protests on March 30, drawing Israeli army fire that has killed at least 157 people.
There have also been shelling exchanges between Hamas-led militants and Israel in which around 10 Palestinian fighters four civilians have died and Gaza sniper attacks that killed an Israeli soldier and wounded another.
A protester was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper. One moment standing, the next out of nowhere, shot. .
It's been four months since tens of thousands in Gaza launched the Great March Return to protest the siege of Gaza, for freedom, and for the right of refugees to return. pic.twitter.com/nGZBKqnRIt
— Shehab News (@ShehabAgencyEn) August 4, 2018
Israel responded on July 9 by shuttering Gaza’s main commercial terminal and limiting a Palestinian fishing zone off the blockaded enclave, measures it offered to reverse on Sunday.
“A complete ceasefire (by the Palestinians) will lead, on Israel’s part, to the reopening of the Kerem Shalom crossing and renewal of the permits given in respect to the fishing zones,” said the Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
This offer would be the focus of Sunday’s deliberations, the official said, adding that any eventual broader agreement over Gaza would require a guarantee for the return of two Israeli soldiers killed in the 2014 Israel-Hamas war, and two civilians lost in Gaza.
23 Palestinian children have been murdered by Israel's firing squads in 3 months: today's victim was 15 years-old https://t.co/zQ6QxblEm6
— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) August 4, 2018
Hamas has linked their fate to Israel freeing Palestinian security detainees – something many Israelis oppose.
Hamas, which convened several of its top leaders to Gaza last week for consultations, also sounded circumspect on Sunday.
The Israeli army has killed another Palestinian child.
Moath Ziad al-Sory, 15, succumbed to his wounds early this morning, after being shot in the stomach by an Israeli soldier during protests in the occupied Gaza Strip yesterday.https://t.co/QlPEkluIU2https://t.co/k6LyhHfqua pic.twitter.com/zvuuFVu93K
— Ben White (@benabyad) August 4, 2018
“Hamas has conducted internal meetings that have not yet ended,” one senior official, Hussam Badran, told a Gaza radio station.
“The suffering of our people, and the 12-year blockade imposed with no guilt on their part, requires that all Palestinian leaders search for a real solution to this suffering … without giving concessions when it comes to the known and outstanding positions and rights of our people.”
In what appeared to be a confidence-building gesture by Cairo, a pro-Hamas website said Egypt was on Sunday beginning to allow cooking gas across its border to Gaza to make up for the shortfall in Israeli supplies.
— CJ Werleman (@cjwerleman) August 4, 2018
Also on Sunday, the Israeli military said it fired toward a vehicle used by Palestinian balloon-launchers in Gaza on Sunday. Palestinian medics said four people were wounded.
(MEMO, PC, Social Media)