News / Middle East

Israel Targets Gaza Sites in Response to Rocket Attacks

Palestinian children sit atop the remains of their house, which witnesses said was destroyed in the Israeli offensive, during a 72-hour truce in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 13, 2014.
Palestinian children sit atop the remains of their house, which witnesses said was destroyed in the Israeli offensive, during a 72-hour truce in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Aug. 13, 2014.
VOA News

The Israeli military says it has carried out air strikes in the Gaza Strip in response to Palestinian rocket fire.

The military said early Thursday it targeted "terror sites" in Gaza.  It said at least three rockets were fired into Israel shortly before a 72-hour cease fire between Israel and Hamas expired late Wednesday.

This comes as Egyptian and Palestinian officials said Hamas agreed to extend the 72-hour truce with Israel for five days.

The head of the Palestinian delegation, Azzam al-Ahmad, said officials hope to reach a final agreement in the coming weeks that has full Arab, regional and international support.

Israel had no immediate comment about the five-day extention or the deal reached in Cairo, meant to end nearly five weeks of fighting between Hamas militants and Israel that has left more 2,000 people dead, mostly Palestinian civilians.

U.S. President Barack Obama, on a two-week vacation, consulted with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by telephone, though the White House did not offer details of their conversation.

Lifting of blockades addressed

A Palestinian official with knowledge of the negotiations told Reuters that Egypt had presented a new proposal that addressed a major Palestinian demand: lifting the Israeli and Egyptian blockades of the Gaza Strip.

Israel and Egypt both have deep security concerns about Hamas, the dominant Islamist group in the small, Mediterranean coastal enclave, complicating any deal on easing border restrictions.

Hamas is part of the Palestinian negotiating team in Cairo, but Israel considers it a terrorist group and refuses to meet with it face to face. Members from President Mahmoud Abbas’ moderate Fatah party are also part of the delegation.

It was unclear from the official's remarks how those worries, along with Israel's demand for Gaza's demilitarization, would be dealt with.

Disarming was not an option, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

If the cease-fire succeeds, “Israel has other options. And if we have to use those other options, it’s better that we can say that we first of all tried a more peaceful path before we had to use the other ones," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said.

Azzam Ahmed, the leader of the Palestinian negotiating team, said the negotiations were at a very sensitive stage. Hamas negotiator Izzat Risheq said his delegation making every effort to achieve a positive outcome.

Egyptian and Palestinian sources said Israel had tentatively agreed to allow some supplies into Gaza and relax curbs on the cross-border movement of people and goods, subject to certain conditions. They did not elaborate.

Israeli officials remained silent on the state of the talks.

A key Palestinian demand has been construction of a seaport in Gaza and reconstruction of the airport destroyed in previous conflicts with Israel. That has also been a stumbling block, with the Jewish state citing security reasons for opposing them.

The gaps are wide, so Egypt has proposed an interim deal to forestall a resumption of hostilities. For example, Israel would partially ease the blockade on Gaza, while negotiations continue on thornier issues, such as open borders for Gaza and the disarmament of Hamas.

Fishing Limits

As part of the Egyptian deal, Israel would expand fishing limits it imposes on Gaza fishermen to six miles from the usual three-mile offshore zone.

In addition, the official said, the Egyptian plan calls for reducing the size of a “no-go” area for Palestinians on the Gaza side of the border from 300 yards to 100 yards so local farmers can recover plots lost to security crackdowns.

One Palestinian official said the Palestinian delegation had agreed that reconstruction in Gaza should be carried out by the unity government set up in June by Hamas and Fatah.

Egypt as mediator

Though Hamas is part of the Palestinian delegation, Israel has refused to meet with its negotiator, since it considers Hamas a terrorist group. That has resulted in indirect talks, with Egyptian officials shuttling proposals back and forth.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, speaking on Tuesday, told Israel's armed forces to prepare for a possible resumption of fighting.

A previous cease-fire last week expired without a longer-term deal and Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli air strikes resumed, though with less intensity.

Israel pulled ground forces out of Gaza last week after it said its army had completed the main mission of destroying more than 30 tunnels dug by militants for cross-border ambushes. It now wants guarantees Hamas will not use any reconstruction supplies sent into the enclave to rebuild the tunnels.

Robert Berger contributed to this report from Jerusalem. Some information for this report provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Australia Knights Prince Philip, Sparking National Outrage

Abbott's surprise reintroduction of knights and dames in the country's honors system last year drew criticism that he was out of touch with national sentiment More

SAG Award Boosts 'Birdman' Oscar Hopes

Individual acting Oscars appear to be sewn up: SAG awards went to artists who won Golden Globes: Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons More

Katy Perry Lights Way for Super Bowl's Girl Power Moment

Pop star's selection to headline US football championship's halftime show extends NFL's trend of selecting artists who appeal to younger viewers More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Aaron F. Wuokolo from: Harbel,Liberia
August 13, 2014 9:54 PM
Israel must learn to respect the outcome of the meeting and stop the aggression against the people of Gaza.The civilians are always the vatims in Gaza.Let the international community stop the aggression between Israel an Gaza.


by: meanbill from: USA
August 13, 2014 9:33 PM
NOTHING Israel offers in the Gaza peace plan is new, it's all the same rehashed lies and propaganda they have always offered, (wanting Hamas to disarm in Gaza, and then they'll negotiate lifting the blockade of Gaza under conditions not yet negotiated on), and after a couple of years if things go smoothly, they'll negotiate lifting the apartheid occupation of the Palestinians..... Abbas of Fatah has been bought and paid for, and he's not representing Hamas or Gaza, but is only a stooge for the US and Israel.... Don't trust the lying Israeli's !!!

REMEMBER... A ceasefire without Israeli concessions is a surrender, (and all the Palestinians killed by Israel, would have died for nothing), so Hamas will let the rockets fire, till they run out of them, and then they'll fire their RPGs and AK-47s till they run out of ammunition, and then they'll throw rocks.... The Hamas fighters are becoming legendary in the Arab world, and the Israeli's are becoming know as killers of defenseless unarmed innocents... (History will record it).

In Response

by: billMeLater from: USA
August 17, 2014 4:25 PM
That's the funniest thing I've read so far on the conflict. So you're saying Hamas should NOT agree to a peace deal, lest the Gazans they caused the death of would be for nothing?

Whether you are Hamas or not, thank you for exhibiting to the civilized world the very mindset we Westerners (and Israel) are facing!

Very funny, if it wasn't sad and dangerous!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sidesi
X
June Soh
January 23, 2015 10:03 PM
The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid