Gaza: over 640 Palestinian deaths,Israeli strike hits family

Flights to Tel Aviv suspended. Near stalemate on Cairo talks

23 July, 12:24

    Israeli artillery fires from suthern Israel into the Gaza Strip Israeli artillery fires from suthern Israel into the Gaza Strip

    (ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV/GAZA/CAIRO - The Israeli military struck a Palestinian family at home in Khan Yunis in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian press agency Maan reported Wednesday. So far four bodies have been extracted from the rubble, including the wife and husband, the agency said.

    The Palestinian casualty count in the Gaza conflict has risen to 641 deaths and 4030 injuries, according to Maan.

    American and European carriers (including Alitalia, Easy Jet and Meridiana) suspended flights to Israel for differing periods after a rocket launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip hit another person near Ben Gurion International Airport. Jordanian and Turkish Airlines did the same. In a sign of the intensification of the conflict, Israel and Hamas rejected the United Nations' (UN) request for a temporary humanitarian ceasefire to allow hospitalization in Egypt of the most severely wounded.

    Negotiations in Cairo - the crossroads for hopes of reaching a ceasefire agreement - almost reached stalemate, as Egypt has refused to modify its diplomatic efforts to accommodate the demands of Hamas.

    Egypt may, however, accept new proposals made by the Palestinian National Authority (PA). The PA, which controls the West Bank, put forward a proposal through a member of the Fatah Central Committee, Azzam al-Ahmad.

    The offer foresees a ceasefire immediately followed by five days of negotiations regarding Palestinian demands, which include the removal of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza border and honouring 2005 agreements calling for Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and the destruction of all of its settlements. "Egypt does not oppose this proposal," said Ahmad just hours after the Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry had reiterated that "there will be no modification" to Cairo's proposal, which consisted of a ceasefire followed by indirect negotiations without a predefined agenda. The Egyptian proposal represented closure toward Hamas's demands, and for a few hours spawned fear of complete stalemate - a stance then mitigated by the PA. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who has laboured "for days" as the UN continues to work for a stop to the conflict, threw pro-Hamas aspirations of Turkish-Qatari talks out of the game. Kerry supported the Egyptian initiative, calling it "the framework" that allows Hamas to "sit at the table" and have serious discussions together with other Palestinian factions. Italy, which currently holds the six-month EU presidency, also threw its full support behind the Egyptian plan. Italian Premier Matteo Renzi confirmed his backing in a phone call to Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

    Sisi already received similar support from the UN (through the presence of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon), the Arab League and other powers, like France. (ANSAmed).

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