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

Brutality Eroding IS Financial Support

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper says IS's penchant for publicizing beheadings, other brutal forms of punishment hurts group’s bottom line More

Studies: Climate Change a Factor in Disasters in Syria, California

The studies point to the possibility of clear and present dangers from a threat often considered to be far in the future More

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials and human rights organizations assert that Pakistani authorities are using deadly attack at school in Peshawar as pretext to push out Afghan refugees 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.
Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukrainei
X
March 03, 2015 3:11 AM
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Kerry Seeks Assurances of Russian Non-Interference in Ukraine

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, that his country could face further consequences to what he called its “already strained economy” if Moscow does not fully comply with a cease-fire in Ukraine. The two met, on Monday, on the sidelines of a U.N. Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva, where Kerry outlined human rights violations in Russian-annexed Crimea and eastern Ukraine. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports from Geneva.
Video

Video Smartphones May Help in Diagnosing HIV

Diagnosing infections such as HIV requires expensive clinical tests, making the procedure too costly for many poor patients or those living in remote areas. But a new technology called lab-on-a-chip may make the tests more accessible to many. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Refugees Complain of Harassment in Pakistan

Afghan officials have expressed concern over reports of a crackdown on Afghan refugees in Pakistan following the Peshawar school attack in December. Reports of mass arrests and police harassment coupled with fear of an uncertain future are making life difficult for a population that fled its homeland to escape war. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports from Islamabad.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Prepare to Defend Mariupol

Despite the ongoing ceasefire in Ukraine, soldiers in the city of Mariupol fear that pro-Russian separatists may be getting ready to attack. The separatists must take or encircle the city if they wish to gain land access to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia early last year. But Ukrainian forces, many of them volunteers, say they are determined to defend it. Patrick Wells reports from Mariupol.
Video

Video Moscow Restaurants Suffer in Bad Economy, Look for Opportunity

As low oil prices and Western sanctions force Russia's economy into recession, thousands of Moscow restaurants are expected to close their doors. Restaurant owners face rents tied to foreign currency, while rising food prices mean Russians are spending less when they dine out. One entrepreneur in Moscow has started a dinner kit delivery service for those who want to cook at home to save money but not skimp on quality. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video US, Cuba Report Progress in Latest Talks to Restore Ties

The United States and Cuba say they have made progress in the second round of talks on restoring diplomatic relations more than 50 years after breaking off ties. Delegations from both sides met in Washington on Friday to work on opening embassies in Havana and Washington and iron out key obstacles to historic change. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas reports from the State Department.
Video

Video Presidential Hopefuls Battle for Conservative Hearts and Minds

One after another, presumptive Republican presidential contenders auditioned for conservative support this week at the Conservative Political Action Conference held outside Washington. The rhetoric was tough as a large field of potential candidates tried to woo conservative support with red-meat attacks on President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress. VOA Political Columnist Jim Malone takes a look.
Video

Video NYC's Restaurant Week: An Economic Boom in Fine Dining

New Yorkers take pride in setting world trends — in fashion, the arts and fine dining. The city’s famous biannual Restaurant Week plays a significant role in a booming tourism industry that sustains 359,000 jobs and generates $61 billion in yearly revenue. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports.
Video

Video Brookhaven at Cutting Edge of US Energy Research

Issues like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and instability in the Middle East are driving debate in the U.S. about making America energy independent. Recently, the American Energy Innovation Council urged Congress and the White House to make expanded energy research a priority. One beneficiary of increased energy spending would be the Brookhaven National Lab, where clean, renewable, efficient energy is the goal. VOA's Bernard Shusman reports.
Video

Video Southern US Cities Preserve Civil Rights Heritage to Boost Tourism

There has been a surge of interest in the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, thanks in part to the Hollywood motion picture "Selma." Five decades later, communities in the South are embracing the dark chapters of their past with hopes of luring tourism dollars. VOA's Chris Simkins reports.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.

All About America

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