Palestinian negotiators are considering an Egyptian proposal to end the fighting between Hamas and Israel that calls for, among other things, a partial easing of the blockade of the Gaza Strip. The deliberations come as a three-day cease-fire was due to expire at midnight tonight (5 p.m. ET).
Israeli and Palestinian officials are meeting in Egypt via Egyptian intermediaries in an attempt to reach a deal to stop the monthlong fighting in the Gaza Strip. As we’ve told you, the fighting that began in June has claimed the lives of nearly 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, mostly soldiers.
The Associated Press reports:
“The Egyptian proposal calls for easing parts of the Israeli blockade of Gaza, bringing some relief to the territory, according to Palestinian officials in the talks. But it leaves the key areas of disagreement, including Hamas’ demand for a full lifting of the blockade and Israeli calls for Hamas to disarm, to later negotiations.”
Here’s some background on how we got to this point:
“A previous three-day cease-fire ended last Tuesday when Hamas militants resumed firing rockets; Israel retaliated. Talks that accompanied that previous truce collapsed partly because Israel rejected Hamas’ demands for an end to Israel and Egypt’s blockade of the Gaza Strip that has had a severe impact on the territory’s nearly 2 million people. Israel has been reluctant to provide concessions to Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Israel considers the group a terrorist organization.
“The current fighting between the two sides began in June following the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank and the subsequent killing of a Palestinian teenager in Jerusalem.”
Update at 12:06 p.m.
An AP video journalist and a freelance Palestinian translator were killed in Gaza when ordnance from the fighting between Israeli and Hamas exploded as they were reporting.
Here’s more from the news service:
“Simone Camilli and Ali Shehda Abu Afash died when an unexploded missile believed to have been dropped in an Israeli airstrike blew up as Gaza police engineers were working to neutralize it in the northern town of Beit Lahiya.
“Police said three police engineers also were killed. Four people, including AP photographer Hatem Moussa, were badly injured.”