The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Friday, August 15, the 39th day of Operation Protective Edge. A five-day truce began amid rocket fire midnight Wednesday, but held through Thursday and Friday. An Egyptian newspaper published details of Cairo’s 11-point ceasefire offer, and accounts varied on whether Hamas and Israel were close to clinching a deal or whether differences remained too great. Israel’s negotiators are due back in Cairo Saturday night, amid news of an 11-point Egyptian ceasefire proposal. (Saturday’s liveblog is here.)

You can also follow @TOIAlerts on Twitter — we’re live-tweeting all the updates there as well.

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Day 39 of Operation Protective Edge

PREAMBLE: Operation Protective Edge enters its 39th day. Thursday, the 38th, saw a new five-day truce hold steady. Focus shifted instead to strains in Israel-US ties, with Washington, DC, confirming that the US has instituted new review procedures for arms sales to Israel.

Israel’s negotiators are expected to return to Cairo on Saturday night, amid the now-routine conflicting reports about progress in talks on a long-term ceasefire arrangement. Israel’s security cabinet met Thursday, and is set to meet again Friday, on the emerging terms.

US confirms new approach to arms deliveries after Gaza op

Earlier Thursday, the State Department confirmed that the US has changed its approach to weapons deliveries to Israel as a result of Operation Protective Edge in Gaza.

“Due to the crisis in Gaza we took additional care and took steps to look harder at [munitions] deliveries to Israel,” said deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf.

Read the full article here.

US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf (screen capture: Youtube)

US State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf (screen capture: Youtube)

PA instructs imams to preach Israel boycott

The Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs instructed West Bank imams to give sermons on Friday urging a boycott of Israel products, Palestinian news outlet Wattan reported late Thursday.

Senior cleric Sheikh Yusuf Adeis said that buying Israeli products supports the Israeli killing machine.

The imams were also instructed to give sermons about the importance of the al-Aqsa mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, and the purported risks it faces from Israel.

150 people packed in boxes in UK Gaza protest

One hundred and fifty men, women, and children squeeze into wooden boxes outside the British parliament buildings in Parliament Square, London, on Thursday, in a protest aimed at putting pressure on the UK government to help lift the blockade of the Gaza Strip.

The square demonstration was organized by the British Oxfam charity and aims to exemplify the conditions in which the people of Gaza are forced to live, due to the blockade on the territory.

“Under the blockade, the entirety of Gaza’s civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility,” Oxfam said in a statement. “This constitutes collective punishment and is illegal under international law.”

The protest also served to launch a nationwide action campaign the charity is organizing to help with its efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“The international community will be guilty of a dereliction of duty if it stands by and watches the blockade continue to impose further misery on Palestinians in Gaza,” said Nishant Pandey, head of Oxfam in Israel and the Palestinian territories. “Israel does have legitimate security concerns, but punishing everyone in Gaza will not achieve lasting peace and security for either Palestinians or Israelis.”

TA’s southern solidarity rally winds down

Some 10,000-15,000 people attended a solidarity rally aimed at showing support for Israel’s rocket-ravaged southern communities.

The masses streamed away from Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, where the rally took place, late Thursday.

— Read the full story here.

Thousands of Israelis gather at Rabin square in Tel Aviv to take part in a solidarity rally with residents in Southern Israel,  August 14, 2014. (photo credit: Amir Levy/Flash90)

Thousands of Israelis gather at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv to take part in a solidarity rally with residents of southern Israel, August 14, 2014. (photo credit: Amir Levy/Flash90)

Turkish deputy PM complains of Israeli ‘difficulties’ in bringing injured Gazans to Ankara

Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay says his country is facing “difficulties” in getting Israeli permission to transfer wounded Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to Ankara, the Turkish daily Hurriyet reports.

Atalay told reporters that Turkish planes at Ben Gurion Airport were supposed to transport 40 injured Palestinians on Wednesday, but only 18 managed to receive the formal permissions.

The paper reports that there are currently 25 Gazans being treated at Turkish hospitals and the country hopes to bring that number up to 200.

Turkey is planning the next transfer of wounded Palestinians on August 19, according to the report.

Both sides must take difficult steps, Cameron tells Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks to British Prime Minister David Cameron by phone, to update him on the ongoing ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas taking place in Cairo.

Cameron reiterated his belief in Israel’s right to self-defense and expressed hope that the talks in Egypt would lead to a long-term truce.

The British PM said both Israel and Hamas must take the sometimes difficult, but necessary, steps to achieve a permanent truce, so that Israelis and Palestinians can live free from terror.

Three charged in scuffle at Calgary pro-Palestinian rally

TORONTO — Three pro-Palestinian activists were charged with assault stemming from a rally for Gaza in Calgary that turned violent.

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists had converged on July 18 outside City Hall in the western Canada city when a small group of pro-Israel demonstrators gathered across the street. A series of scuffles broke out and three people were assaulted.

On Tuesday, Aziz Mohammad Madi, 18, was charged with two counts of assault, according to Sunmedia. In addition, Arlsan Khan, 27, and a 16-year-old — who cannot be named under Canadian law — are each facing one count. All three are scheduled to appear in court on September 15.

It took police nearly a month to press charges because of the complexity of the investigation, Inspector Cliff O’Brien told Sunmedia.

Charges are also expected against a fourth man, whom police have identified, but not yet found.


Righteous Gentile returns award after relatives killed in Gaza

A 91-year-old Dutch man who received the Righteous Among the Nations award, along with his late mother, for saving a Jewish child during the Holocaust gives back his certificate and award after his relatives were killed in Gaza last month during Operation Protective Edge, Haaretz reports.

Three years ago, Yad Vashem awarded Henk Zanoli and his late mother, Johana Zanoli-Smit (posthumously), the title for saving Elhanan Pinto during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Pinto was 11 years old at the time and was hidden by the Zanoli family for two years, from 1943-1945. His parents and siblings died in concentration camps.

Zanoli’s great-niece, Angelique Eijpe, is married to Gaza-born Isma’il Ziadah, from the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. The family home was reportedly hit by an IDF bomb, killing six of his relatives.

On Thursday, Zanoli expressed his outrage for the killings by sending the Righteous Among the Nations award and certificate to the Israeli Embassy in The Hague, via messenger, along with a letter addressed to the ambassador.

Zanoli’s father and an unknown number of his six siblings were involved in the Dutch resistance. Henk Zanoli, Sr. died in 1945 in the Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria.

“Against this background it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel,” Zanoli wrote.

“The great-great-grandchildren of my mother have lost their [Palestinian] grandmother, three uncles, an aunt and a cousin at the hands of the Israeli army… For me to hold on to the honor granted by the State of Israel, under these circumstances, will be both an insult to the memory of my courageous mother who risked her life and that of her children fighting against suppression and for the preservation of human life as well as an insult to those in my family, four generations on, who lost no less than six of their relatives in Gaza at the hands of the State of Israel,” he wrote, as quoted by Haaretz.

Israel can manage without US Hellfire missiles, says former Netanyahu adviser

Former national security adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, says Israel is strong enough to fight Hamas in Gaza without US Hellfire missiles and does not rule out having to reconquer the Palestinian enclave.

Amidror says that “a little perspective is needed” when talking about the latest alleged crisis in Israel-US relations, since Israel receives up to $1 billion in US military aid every year. All of Israel’s fighter planes, he tells Israel Radio, as well as some of our precise weaponry, are made in the US.

Former National Security Adviser Yaakov Amidror, October 14, 2013. (photo credit: Flash90)

Former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror, October 2013. (photo credit: Flash90)

The Americans are neither stupid, nor naive, and they act according to their interests, he says.

If the Cairo ceasefire talks fail, he says, retaking Gaza would be a tough option — but he does not dismiss the idea.

He says Israel must prepare for the possibility, because “we might get there,” he is quoted by Israel Radio as saying.

Cabinet to convene at 8:30 a.m.

Israeli negotiators are taking the weekend off, but the cabinet is set to meet Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. in Jerusalem to discuss the ongoing conflict and the attempts to bring it to a close.

Bacall once blew up at young Anderson Cooper for supporting Palestinian state

The late actress Lauren Bacall, a cousin of ex-president Shimon Peres, once upbraided a young Anderson Cooper for voicing support for the Palestinians at a dinner party, Page Six reports.

Bacall, an avid supporter of Israel, was at a dinner thrown by Cooper’s mother, Gloria Vanderbilt, in 1982. The 14-year-old future CNN anchor said to the guests that “something has to be done to help the Palestinians. We need a Palestinian state,” the report says.

“Bacall, a big supporter of Israel, went nuts,” dinner party attendee and former congressman John LeBoutillier recounts. “She eviscerates this kid in front of everyone, humiliates the hostess’s son. Anderson was in tears.”

Cooper, for his part, confirmed the story to Page Six, but said there were no tears.

Palestinian factions signal no renewal of hostilities

The ceasefire talks are still ongoing, but representatives of Palestinian terror groups in Gaza say the fighting might be done.

Deputy head of Islamic Jihad Ziad Nakhleh tells the al-Hayat newspaper that hostilities are behind us, and at this stage there’s no choice but to reach a long-term ceasefire agreement. Khaled al-Batsh, another senior member of the terror group, said Thursday that if a deal isn’t reached that addresses the demands of the Palestinians, the groups in Gaza would weigh a long-term ceasefire to protect the civilian population.

A Hamas source tells Israel Radio that he believes the fighting won’t start again, even if a deal isn’t reached by Monday. Talks are expected to restart on Sunday, but Hamas officials say discussion of major talking points remains.

Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz says that Israel should wait and see what Israel accomplished in Operation Protective Edge before drawing conclusions from the more than month-long conflict in the Gaza Strip.

Peretz, a former defense minister, tells Israel Radio that Israel and the Palestinians are reaching the end of ceasefire negotiations and “this is the most important part of it.”

Head of southern towns calls on government to secure calm

The head of the Ashkelon coastal region of southern Israel, Yair Farjoun, tells Army Radio that the government must not ignore the sporadic rocket fire at Israeli citizens near the Gaza Strip.

“We want silence — and our political leadership will be tested by bringing quiet now,” he says. “The south needs to be quiet just like the rest of the country needs to be quiet — and that it doesn’t remain beneath the ‘drizzle of rocket fire’ that’s continued for years already.”

A rocket is fired from Gaza City towards Israel, Saturday, August 9, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Dusan Vranic)

A rocket is fired from Gaza City towards Israel, Saturday, August 9, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Dusan Vranic)

No crisis in Israel-US ties, foreign affairs committee chief says

Yisrael Beytenu MK Ze’ev Elkin, the head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, tells Israel Radio that contrary to recent reports, there’s no strain in Israel’s relations with the United States that is threatening its defense cooperation.

Elkin, a former deputy foreign minister, says that it’s important to listen to one’s allies, but not at the expense of the safety of Israeli citizens, the station reports.

MK Zee'v Elkin (Likud), chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, in  the Knesset, May 12, 2014. (photo credit: Flash 90)

MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, in the Knesset, May 12, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah tells Army Radio that the US is “Israel’s most important ally, and its great power stands to help us.

“This alliance must be the top priority of the decision makers,” Shelah adds.

Hamas official says group interested in long-term ceasefire

Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin says Hamas is interested in a long-term ceasefire and in handing control of the Gaza Strip over to the Palestinian Authority’s national reconciliation government, of which it’s a part.

Baskin tweets that he spoke to a Hamas official on Thursday night and was informed that “Hamas wants Gaza rebuilt and are prepared for any kind of international oversight to ensure that building materials go to rebuilding Gaza above ground.”

“The proof of Hamas intentions will be in the arrangements that are agreed on that will enable the end of the siege on Gaza,” Baskin says.

Ma’an publishes details of Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire talks

The Palestinian Ma’an news agency publishes what it says are Israeli proposals as part of the ceasefire negotiations. According to the report, Israel made the opening of the border crossings with the Gaza Strip conditional on a detailed agreement with the Palestinian Authority, and proposed providing the Palestinian territory with aid for reconstruction.

The report makes no mention of transferring Hamas salaries, but mentions Israeli opposition to prisoner releases and the construction of a Gaza seaport and airport.

The Palestinian news agency also publishes seven clauses of a “strategic plan” set by the Palestinians for removing the siege from the Gaza Strip:

1. Salaries are paid to Hamas civil servants in Gaza and government ministries are reactivated in the Strip.
2. The PA joins the rest of the international treaties and organizations.
3. Between 1,000-3,000 PA Presidential Guard troops are deployed to the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
4. A conference supporting the reconstruction of Gaza is moved from Norway to Egypt, to ease the process.
5. The PA Foreign Ministry signs bilateral agreements and conducts diplomatic trips to Latin America.
6. The PA signs an agreement with Egypt concerning the Rafah border crossing.
7. Negotiations begin on the establishment of a seaport and airport.

Palestinians advise Ferguson protesters on coping with tear gas

Al-Jazeera reports that Palestinians are providing Americans in Ferguson, MO — where protesters have clashes with police over the shooting of an unarmed Black teen — with advice on how to cope with tear gas, based on their experience with Israeli forces.

Below are a couple of tweets by Palestinians selected by the news outlet.

Bennett calls for unilateral steps to ease Gaza blockade

Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett says that Israel ought to take unilateral steps and open the crossings to the Gaza Strip and increase the coastal territory’s fishing zone without an agreement with Hamas.

“We won’t make a deal that will hamper our ability to strike the tunnels,” he is quoted by Ynet as saying.

Meretz leader calls on Israel to recognize Palestinian unity government

Meretz party leader Zehava Gal-on calls on the cabinet, which convened this morning, to announce its recognition of the Palestinian unity government and cooperate with it in the ceasefire negotiations in Cairo. She accuses the Israeli government of strengthening Hamas — at the expense of the Palestinian Authority — by negotiating with it.

“It’s unacceptable that in the ceasefire talks in Cairo we’re strengthening Hamas, bestowing upon it achievements, and weakening the moderate [Palestinian] forces,” Army Radio quotes her as saying. “The time has come to learn lessons and stop the boycott of the [Palestinian] unity government, which is not only deleterious, but ridiculous.”

Cabinet meeting ends without decisions

The cabinet meeting, which took place Friday morning in Jerusalem, ends after roughly three hours. The ministers discussed the ongoing ceasefire talks in Cairo between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, but the government members didn’t make any decisions after the briefing, Haaretz reports.

Hamas leadership to discuss ceasefire talks

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq writes on his Facebook wall that meetings are taking place today between Hamas politburo leaders in Qatar and the Islamist group’s leadership in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The Hamas officials are to discuss the results of the ceasefire negotiations thus far in Cairo.

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq (photo credit: PressTV, YouTube screen capture)

Hamas official Izzat al-Rishq (photo credit: PressTV, YouTube screen capture)

Bennett calls on government to abandon Cairo talks

In his remarks to the cabinet earlier on Friday, Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett calls on the government to abandon the talks in Cairo with Palestinian groups, saying the negotiations will only serve to empower Hamas. In that respect, oddly enough, he and left-wing Meretz party leader Zehava Gal-on agree.

He says Israel should not make a deal with a terrorist group, and calls for a unilateral opening of Israel’s borders with Gaza and the expansion of the offshore fishing zone.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett speaks at the Haaretz Israel Conference for Peace at the David Intercontinental Hotel in Tel Aviv, Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Naftali Bennett speaks at the Haaretz Israel Conference for Peace at the David InterContinental Hotel Tel Aviv, on Tuesday, July 8, 2014. (photo credit: Flash90)

Palestinians march in Ramallah, Hebron

After Friday prayers, Palestinians in Ramallah and Hebron march in support of Hamas and against Israel’s operation in the Gaza Strip. Palestinian Authority police reportedly disperse the crowd with tear gas and confiscate Hamas banners.

Egyptian official says Cairo deal ‘most detailed since Oslo’

An Egyptian official tells the Palestinian al-Quds newspaper that the Cairo ceasefire agreement being negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians is the most detailed since the 1993 Oslo Accords, and that it includes Israel recognizing the Palestinian national unity government.

The report could not be independently confirmed.

PA to administer Gaza reconstruction

Palestinian Authority Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr says that the national unity government would be responsible for the daunting and lengthy task of rebuilding the Gaza Strip after the damage caused in Operation Protective Edge, Channel 2 reports.

“The Palestinian government will take responsibility for what will take place in the Strip and for the needs of its residents,” he said during a visit to the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

 In this Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 file photo, Palestinian Ziad Rizk, sits with others in a shelter made of a blanket stretched over four poles next to one of the destroyed al-Nada Towers, where he lost his apartment and clothes shop, in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip.  (photo credit: AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

In this Monday, Aug. 11, 2014 file photo, Palestinian Ziad Rizk, sits with others in a shelter made of a blanket stretched over four poles next to one of the destroyed al-Nada Towers, where he lost his apartment and clothes shop, in the town of Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip. (photo credit: AP Photo/Khalil Hamra, File)

Palestinian delegation head hopes for deal by early next week

Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of the Palestinian delegation to Cairo, says he hopes a long-term ceasefire deal with Israel will be finalized by the beginning of next week, Ynet reports.

Al-Ahmad has met in Ramallah with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and updated him on the status of talks.

According to the report, a small number of key points of contention between the sides remains to be resolved.

Hamas admits it ‘deported’ reporters who filmed rocket launches, intimidated ‘immoral’ press

A Hamas official admits that the group strong-armed journalists in Gaza into a reporting style that better fit their narrative, keeping many under surveillance and kicking out of the territory those who filmed the launching of rockets at Israel.

“These journalists were deported from the Gaza Strip,” the head of foreign relations in Hamas’s Information Ministry, Isra al-Mudallal, tells Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen TV. “The security agencies would go and have a chat with these people. They would give them some time to change their message, one way or another.”

Al-Mudallal adds that the global media was heavily biased towards Israel throughout the conflict. “The journalists who entered Gaza were fixated on the notion of peace and on the Israeli narrative,” she complains.

“We suffered from this problem very much,” she adds. And therefore, she explains: “Some of the journalists who entered the Gaza Strip were under security surveillance. Even under these difficult circumstances, we managed to reach them, and tell them that what they were doing was anything but professional journalism and that it was immoral.”

Deal would obligate Hamas to halt tunneling activity

One of the clauses in the ceasefire deal being drafted in Cairo obligates Hamas and other militant factions in Gaza to stop all tunnel digging activities, Ynet reports, quoting Egyptian daily al-Shorouk. Thisת in addition to halting rocket-fire and any other hostile actions against Israel.

Israel, according to the report, also commits to stop all military activity in Gaza, including any further ground incursions, and to open its crossings to Gaza in order to ease the blockade of the Strip.

Hamas negotiators in Qatar to discuss Israel truce

Hamas negotiators are consulting with the group’s leadership in Qatar on a proposal for a long-term truce with Israel.

Israel and Hamas are observing a five-day temporary cease-fire in an attempt to allow indirect talks in Cairo to continue. The negotiations are meant to secure a substantive end to the monthlong Gaza war and draw up a roadmap for the coastal territory, which has been hard-hit in the fighting.

Hamas is demanding the lifting of the blockade Israel and Egypt imposed after the group seized power in the coastal strip in 2007.

Hamas supporters shout slogans to support people in Gaza and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo, Egypt, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 (photo credit: AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

Hamas supporters shout slogans to support people in Gaza and Palestinian negotiators in Cairo, Egypt, during a demonstration in the West Bank city of Nablus on Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 (photo credit: AP Photo/Nasser Ishtayeh)

Israeli officials have largely kept quiet about the negotiations, saying only that the country’s security needs must be met.

Representatives of Palestinian factions in Cairo say that progress is being made.

– AP

The reported 11 clauses of the Egyptian ceasefire offer

More info from the Egyptian newspaper al-Shorouk on what it says are the 11 clauses of the ceasefire deal Egypt has proposed to Hamas and Israel, as reported by Channel 2:

  1. Israel will halt all attacks on Gaza — by land, air or sea. There will be no ground incursions into Gaza.
  2. All Palestinian factions in Gaza will stop all attacks against Israel by land, air or sea, and will stop the construction of tunnels from Gaza into Israel.
  3. The opening of crossings between Israel and Gaza – the passage of people and goods will be allowed in order to rebuild Gaza. The transfer of goods between Gaza and the West Bank will be permitted, according to principles which will be determined between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
  4. Israeli authorities will coordinate with the PA all issues of funds related to Gaza and its reconstruction.
  5. The elimination of the buffer zones along the security fence in the northern and eastern Gaza Strip and the deployment of PA forces in those areas beginning January 1, 2015. This will be conducted in several steps: At first the buffer zone will be reduced to 300 meters from the border, then 100 meters and finally the removal of the buffer zone altogether with the deployment of PA troops.
  6. The fishing zone off the Gaza coast will immediately be extended to 6 miles, and will be gradually extended to 12 miles, in coordination between Israel and the PA.
  7. Israel will assist the PA in rebuilding infrastructure destroyed in Gaza, and will assist in providing basic necessities for those Gaza residents who were forced to flee their homes due to the fighting. Israel will provide medical aid to the wounded, and will expedite the transfer of humanitarian aid and food through the crossings.
  8. The Palestinian Authority in coordination with Israel and international aid groups will provide the basic products needed to rebuild Gaza, according to a predetermined schedule which will allow those driven from their homes to return as soon as possible.
  9. Egypt implores the international community to provide swift humanitarian and monetary assistance for Gaza’s reconstruction, according to a set schedule.
  10. Upon the stabilization of the ceasefire and the return to normal life in Gaza, the sides will conclude their indirect negotiations in Cairo within a month after signing the deal. The exchange of prisoners and bodies will also be discussed at that time.
  11. The possibility of constructing an airport and sea port in Gaza will be considered in accordance with the Oslo accords and other previous agreements.

According to the report, both sides are now considering the Egyptian proposal.

An Israeli official tells Channel 2 in light of the newspaper report that Israel has yet to agree to any offer. “Israel insists that any understandings reached must clearly serve Israel’s security interests,” the source says.

Hamas takes issue with some wording in Egyptian offer

Representatives of Palestinian factions in Cairo say progress is being made in reaching a ceasefire deal. A Hamas official says his group has all but accepted the offer and is currently finalizing the wording.

“The proposed agreement states in many places that lifting the blockade will come through measures and mechanisms agreed upon between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and this means Israel will always have the upper hand, and might return the situation on the crossings back to the way it used to be before the war,” he says. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations are still ongoing.

He says the emerging deal would end hostilities and answer some immediate Hamas needs, including providing materials for reconstruction.


Hamas claims IDF opened fire in Gaza, army denies report

Hamas says IDF troops have fired at houses in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Younis, Israel Radio reports.

The IDF denies the incident, saying its forces have not fired at all.

EU offers to take charge of Gaza crossings

The European Union is offering to take charge of Gaza’s border crossings and work to prevent illegal arms flows, insisting on a durable ceasefire and saying a return to the status quo for the region “is not an option.”

At an urgent meeting in Brussels about global conflicts, EU foreign ministers offer to reactivate and potentially extend its monitoring of Rafah and other border crossings — if given a mandate by the UN Security Council and if it helps living conditions improve in Gaza.

In a statement, they say they could also work to prevent arms smuggling and launch a training program for Palestinian Authority police and customs officers to be deployed in Gaza. They say terrorist groups in Gaza must disarm and an overall peace deal remains the main objective.

“The situation in the Gaza Strip has been unsustainable for many years and a return to the status quo prior to the latest conflict is not an option,” they say.


Hamas officials deny group to accept Egyptian proposal

Hamas officials appear to contradict earlier reports that the group is close to accepting the Egyptian ceasefire offer, with sources telling Channel 2 that the Egyptian offer “doesn’t give Hamas a thing,” and that while most other Palestinian factions are inclined to accept it, Hamas — under the Qatar-based political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal — is not.

Israel said preparing with Egypt for possible talk collapse

Israel is conducting talks with Egyptian officials to prepare for the possibility of ceasefire talks in Cairo failing, Channel 2 reports.

The talks are being conducted independently of the official negotiations with Palestinian factions, due to what some sources say are the ongoing wide gaps between the sides.

Foreign Ministry welcomes EU call to disarm Gaza terrorists

Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor praises the European Union’s call to disarm Gaza’s terrorist groups and prevent illegal arms flows.

“Just like EU ministers, Israel attaches great importance to the Egyptian initiative aimed at securing a stable, long-term ceasefire,” Palmor says in a statement.

Palmor adds that the demilitarization of the Palestinian enclave “will ensure a change of the situation [in Gaza] at its core.”

Schumer calls for Schabas’s removal, winning Jewish leaders’ praise

Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) has urged the UN Human Rights Council to remove William Schabas as head of the probe into the recent Gaza conflict, citing his past comments against Israel which the senator says rules him out as a fair judge of the war.

Schumer adds that if Schabas is not removed, the US should halt its funding of the UNHRC as well as any participation in it.

Jewish leaders are applauding the senator’s stance, with the heads of the Conference of Presidents, Robert G. Sugarman and Malcolm Hoenlein, saying they too have urged UN chief Ban-ki Moon to reconsider Schabas’s appointment.

“We hope that the House and Senate will join and follow Senator Schumer’s lead in communicating their opposition to Schabas having a continuing role in any investigation of the Gaza conflict,” they say.