Egypt Mediators In Gaza For Talks With Hamas
JERUSALEM (AP) — The Latest on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (all times local):
Palestinian border authorities say Egyptian mediators have arrived in the Gaza Strip for talks with the territory’s Hamas rulers.
The delegation of Egyptian officials crossed into Gaza on Wednesday, as an unofficial cease-fire between Israel and Hamas appeared to hold after a round of heavy cross-border fighting.
Palestinian media reported the mediators planned to offer Hamas economic incentives for the group’s commitment to halt its weekly demonstrations along the Gaza-Israeli border.
There was no immediate comment from Hamas.
Even as mediators arrived, Hamas resumed its regular night-time protests at the security fence. Palestinian protesters detonated loud explosives, burned tires and flashed lasers at Israeli soldiers.
Demonstrations are expected along the frontier Saturday to mark the anniversary of the rallies in which nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.
The World Health Organization has condemned the killing of a Palestinian medic by Israeli forces in the West Bank.
Gerald Rockenschaub, director of WHO for the West Bank and Gaza, said Wednesday that “health workers provide critical care and save lives,” and “their protection must be ensured.”
He added: “Health care is not a target.”
Sajed Mizher, an 18-year-old emergency medical worker, was shot Wednesday while in uniform, tending to Palestinians wounded during clashes with the Israeli army in Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem.
Mizher was hit in the abdomen and rushed to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead, according to the Palestinian health ministry.
The ministry said Israeli soldiers shot Mizher after stones were thrown at them during an arrest raid. The Israeli army had no immediate comment.
Israel says that more than 2,000 violent incidents have emanated from the Gaza Strip since Hamas-orchestrated weekly border demonstrations erupted a year ago.
An Israeli statistical review published Wednesday found that Palestinians launched 1,233 rockets from Gaza, hurled 94 explosive devices and 600 Molotov cocktails across the security fence and committed 152 acts of arson against Israeli forces.
The report said rocket fire killed one Israeli and injured 126. Palestinian attacks on the security fence killed one Israeli soldier and wounded 16.
It said incendiary kites have torched thousands of acres of Israeli farmland, inflicting over $9.5 million in damage.
Israel has come under criticism for using disproportionate force against unarmed protesters. Over the past year, nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.
Hamas’ supreme leader has made his first public appearance since a new round of cross-border violence with Israel this week.
Ismail Haniyeh on Wednesday visited the rubble of his Gaza City office, which was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike.
Haniyeh had been in hiding during the two-day flare-up of violence, which ended with an unofficial Egyptian-brokered cease-fire.
The fighting broke out after a rocket fired from Gaza struck a home in central Israel and wounded seven people. Israel responded with dozens of airstrikes in Gaza, while Palestinian militants fired dozens of rockets into Israel.
Haniyeh says: “The Israeli occupation got the message.”
He also urged Gazans to participate in mass protests along the Israel-Gaza frontier on Saturday marking the first anniversary of a movement aimed at ending an Israeli-Egyptian blockade.
The Palestinian Health Ministry says an 18-year-old has been shot dead in West Bank clashes with Israeli troops.
The ministry says Israeli soldiers shot Sajed Mizher after stones were thrown at them early Wednesday during an arrest raid in the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem. It says two others were wounded in the clashes, which come amid an uptick in West Bank violence.
The Israeli military had no immediate comment. It often carries out pre-dawn arrest raids.
Since 2015, Palestinians have killed over 50 Israelis in stabbings, shootings and car-ramming attacks in the West Bank. Israeli forces have killed more than 260 Palestinians in that same period. Israel says most of the Palestinians killed were attackers, but clashes between protesters and soldiers have also turned deadly.
An unofficial cease-fire appears to be holding between Israel and Gaza’s Hamas rulers despite limited exchanges of fire.
Schools reopened in southern Israel on Wednesday after late-night rocket attacks from Gaza set off air-raid sirens, breaking a daylong lull. The Israeli military struck back against additional Hamas targets but there were no reports of casualties on either side.
Israel and Hamas have fought three wars and dozens of skirmishes since the Islamic militant group seized control of Gaza in 2007. The latest round was triggered by a Gaza rocket fired early Monday that slammed into a house in central Israel and wounded seven people.
Large Gaza protests are expected this weekend, marking the anniversary of weekly rallies in which nearly 200 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire.