Israeli troops kill 2 Palestinians in Gaza border protests - medics

Lester Mason
August 19, 2018

UN Secretary-General, antónio Guterres, welcomed the decision of the Israeli authorities to resume the work of the checkpoint "Kerem Shalom" on the border with the Gaza strip and called for support to the overall efforts of the UN and Egypt to resolve the humanitarian crisis in the enclave.

Israel and Hamas have come close to serious conflict in recent weeks after four months of violence along Gaza's border.

Hamas officials have been meeting with Egyptian officials in Cairo for days, hammering out details of a possible truce with Israel.

After a more than four-month surge in confrontations, Israel this week eased its clampdown on the Gaza Strip border and fishing waters.

Israel's security cabinet, a forum of senior ministers headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, discussed the Gaza situation on Wednesday and an Israeli "diplomatic official" said Hamas would have to prove its commitment to the truce.

On Thursday, Israel responded to some 180 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza with widespread air strikes.

United Nations chief António Guterres also welcomed Wednesday's move lift restrictions by extending Gaza's permissible fishing area to nine nautical miles, up from six.

The Oslo interim peace accords in the early 1990s set a 20 nautical mile limit, which was never implemented.

If the Egyptian version happens, the cost will be great - both in terms of real dollars spent in the Gaza Strip and in terms of real political prestige accruing to Hamas.

On July 9, Israeli authorities closed the crossing to most deliveries, partly in response to kites and balloons being flown across the border carrying firebombs to burn Israeli farmland, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage.

Food and medicines have been allowed through, but fuel and cooking gas had been intermittently blocked, including since August 2.

At least 171 Gazans have been killed by Israeli fire since late March, mostly during protests.

However, Israeli media reports said that during the protests, a Palestinian threw a hand grenade at Israeli soldiers, adding that the soldiers opened fire and shot him.

A Palestinian source in Ramallah said Kamel has left without seeing Abbas, who had been preoccupied with a Palestinian leadership conference.

Israeli troops killed two Palestinians and wounded scores of others taking part in weekly Gaza border protests, medics said.

. Their efforts at agreeing on a power-sharing unity deal with Egyptian mediation have not borne fruit.

According to various unconfirmed reports, the proposal under discussion reportedly includes a long-term ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the restoration of control over the enclave to the Abbas-led PA and the advancement of a number of humanitarian projects.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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