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9 Sep, 2014

Video shows tunnel operations

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A video translated by the MEMRI monitoring service shows an Al-Jazeera Arabic reporter’s visit to the site of tunnel-digging operations by the armed wing of Islamic Jihad under the Israeli border. A tunnel worker:

We are now in one of the tunnels of the Al-Quds Brigades, on which work began as soon as the war on Gaza ended and the ceasefire was declared. We have begun work and we are continuing it regardless of the threats by the Zionist enemy. We will not be hindered by the threats of the enemy, or by the ban on importing cement and other building materials.

30 Aug, 2014

Report: 20 years to rebuild

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A housing assessment by Shelter Cluster, chaired by the Norwegian Refugee Council with the participation of the U.N. refugee agency and the Red Cross, says Gaza will take 20 years to rebuild. Most rebuilding is due to the housing deficit of 75,000 units. Cost estimates for the restructuring are more than $6 billion. The housing assessment derives from the present level of goods transferable from Israel to Gaza. The present blockade hinders rebuilding efforts, as construction materials have restrictions to limit tunnel production. The 20 year timeframe takes into consideration 100 truckloads of building materials on a daily basis. Currently there is no mention of plans to ease blockade restrictions.

29 Aug, 2014

Accuses Hamas

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Abbas blames Hamas for protracting the war in Gaza, doubting the continuation of the Unity government. After 50 days of fighting when a truce came about, Hamas still declares victory. Abbas:

It was possible for us to avoid all of that, 2,000 martyrs, 10,000 injured, 50,000 houses (destroyed). They (Hamas) have a shadow government, if this continues it means no unity. The test is coming soon. The government needs to do its job and handle everything. I’m not saying everything needs to come to an end in one moment, this is a seven-year split that needs months or years.

Israeli government:

The Egyptian formula was on the table on July 15th, it was backed by the Arab League, it was accepted by Israel but rejected by Hamas then and now more than a month later has belatedly been accepted by Hamas. As the dust clears from the conflict I’m sure many people in Gaza will be asking why did Hamas reject a month ago what it accepted today, and if it had accepted then what it accepted now, how much bloodshed could have been avoided.

27 Aug, 2014

Over 2,100 deaths

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More than 2,100 people are reported to have been killed in Gaza, most of them civilians, including about 500 children. At least 11,000 people have been injured and more than 17,000 homes destroyed or badly damaged, while around a third of the territory’s 1.8 million residents have been displaced.

On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers have died along with six civilians, including a four-year-old boy, and hundreds of families have relocated from homes near the Gaza border.

20 Aug, 2014

Netanyahu: We arrest our extremists

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Netanyahu tells Blitzer that the difference between Israel and Hamas is that Israel doesn’t glorify extremists, but puts them in jail. On the suspected killers of Palestinian teenager Mohammad Abu Khdeir in an apparent nationalist attack:

We don’t glorify these killers.  We put – we apprehended him in three – three days after the – that tragic killing, immediately put them in custody.  We’re putting them on trial.  They will serve a good chunk of their lives in jail.  That’s what we do with the killers.  We don’t name public squares after them.  We don’t glorify them.

He says that Hamas begins indoctrinating people with extremism from a young age:

We don’t educate our people, our children in suicide kindergarten camps, as happens in the Palestinian side. And you should see what Hamas is educating them to, no peace, no two-state solution, nothing, just jihad, more and more violence, more and more murder, and more and more bloodshed.  This is not our way.  We have – I think a society is tested not by the extreme fringes of that society, but how it takes care of them.  We take care of those extreme fringes.  We basically isolate them and ostracize them and punish them.

10 Aug, 2014

1.903 Palestinian deaths

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al-qassam-mosque-bodiesThe number of Palestinian deaths rises to 1,903 as five people are killed in fresh airstrikes after the 72-hour truce window ends. Israel says 65 rockets have been launched from the Gaza strip by Palestinian factions, and it has responded with 63 strikes. Three people were killed in an attack on a mosque in the Nusseirat refugee camp and two when a motorcycle was hit in the Maghazi refugee camp, Gaza’s Health Ministry says.

9 Aug, 2014

Palestinians ‘seeking reoccupation’

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Palestinian officials involved in the negotiating process are seeking either further concessions or a reoccupation of the Gaza Strip, an Israeli official says:

These people are trying to do two things: convince us to give them more, or if it fails, convince us that we should come in [to Gaza]. We don’t want to do it, because we don’t want to be responsible for Gaza

Israeli officials leave Cairo after negotiations to extend the ceasefire break down, while the Palestinian delegates remain and say they are willing to commit to new talks on a truce.

8 Aug, 2014

Egypt calls for return to negotiations

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Egypt calls on Israel and Hamas to extend the ceasefire and return to negotiations after the original 72-hour window expires at midnight Eastern Standard Time and Israel reports rocket fire by Palestinian factions and resumes airstrikes.  Foreign ministry:

Return immediately to the ceasefire and exploit the opportunity available to resume negotiations on the very limited sticking points that remain in the fastest possible time

An official:

There had been an agreement on the vast majority of matters that are important to the Palestinian people, but some limited points remained undecided, a matter that should have led to an acceptance to renew the ceasefire

Hamas is calling for a variety of conditions including an airport and sea port in the Gaza Strip but is primarily concerned with opening border crossings. Israel wants demilitarization of the Strip and disarmament of Hamas.

Airstrikes resume

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Gaza air strikeIsrael resumes air strikes as the 72-hour ceasefire ends with rockets fired across the border by Palestinian factions. Hamas has said that it will not seek to renew the ceasefire. Tens of thousands of people in Gaza who had returned to their homes during the ceasefire rush back to the UNRWA-run shelters. Nidal Sultan, 21, of Beit Lahiya:

We were in the school on the first day of the ceasefire and came back this morning. There were strikes and shelling in the last hour or so. It’s not safe, so we have to come to the school however bad it is. We will stay now until the war stops.

Ceasefire ends

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The 72-hour ceasefire ends at midnight Eastern Standard Time or 8 a.m. local time as Israel reports that Hamas, which has said it will not extend the truce, has fired at least 35 rockets, with at least one falling short and landing in Gaza. Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhum:

All the Palestinian factions, including Hamas, have agreed not to renew the ceasefire because [Israel] is refusing to accommodate our demands.

7 Aug, 2014

Will resume attacks after ceasefire

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Hamas sources say the group will not extend the 72-hour ceasefire beyond its original deadline, and plan to resume attacking Israeli targets at midnight Eastern Standard Time on Friday (August 8). The statement comes as Palestinian and Israeli delegations are in mediated, indirect peace talks in Cairo. Sources:

The Al-Qassam Brigades and Jerusalem battalions will renew its attacks immediately with the end of the ceasefire period on Friday at 8 a.m.

Davis Cup match moved from Tel Aviv

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The International Tennis Foundation announces that it is moving Israel’s Sept. 12-14 Davis Cup match against Argentina out of Tel Aviv and that the playoff will not be held in any other Israeli city. Israel, as the team with home-court advantage, must choose among four venues for the new location: New York; Delray Beach, Fl; Krakow, Poland; or Tallinn, Estonia. Argentine Tennis Association president Arturo Grimaldi regarding the 204 Gaza conflict:

We are concerned. We have communicated with the ITF, which promises to make a decision about Davis Cup very soon.

Haaretz most cited

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Editors at Haaretz find that the newspaper’s Hebrew edition has several thousand readers in Egypt, presumably Egyptian intelligence operatives trained in Hebrew, while the newspaper is found to be the most cited and most trusted media source by both Palestinian and Israeli supporters.

Suspect says kidnapping funded by Hamas

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marwan-quasma-abu-ayshaThe alleged ringleader of the 2014 Israel kidnappings has told police that he received money for the attack from Hamas operatives in the Gaza Strip, state prosecution says after a gag order on his arrest and investigation is lifted. Hebron resident Hussam Kawasme states that alleged killers Marwan Kawasme – his brother, who was released in 2011 in an prisoner exchange for Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit – and Amer Abu Aysha drove to his house after abducting and killing Yeshiva students Gil-ad Shaar and Naftali Fraenkel, both 16 years old, and Eyal Yifrach, 19. The three then drove to a plot of land in Halhoul purchased by Hussam Kawasme ahead of time, where they buried the bodies of the teenagers.

6 Aug, 2014

Agrees to extend ceasefire

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Israel agrees to extend the 72-hour Egypt-brokered ceasefire deal beyond its Friday deadline, although it doesn’t specify how long the truce might be extended. There is no immediate comment from Hamas. Israeli official:

Israel has expressed its readiness to extend the truce under its current terms.

Gazans ‘beat Hamas spokesman’

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Gaza residents are reported to attack and beat Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri near the Shifa hospital due to anger at Hamas’ perceived role in causing the 2014 Gaza conflict. The Arabic-language report from Egypt’s Veto Edge quotes spokesperson for the Sisi Supporters Front, Mohamed Abu Hamed, as saying that Gaza is ripe for a revolution to overthrow Hamas, while Nabil Zaki, a spokesperson for the left-wing Tagamoa Party in Egypt, says that Palestinians are partly responsible for their plight as they voted Hamas into power, and that anger from civilians would bring few results without expanding into a revolution.

5 Aug, 2014

Delegations arrive in Cairo

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The Israeli delegation arrives in Cairo to begin peace talks. The Israeli team includes Netanyahu aide Yitzhak Molcho, Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad and Yoram Cohen, head of the Israel Security Agency or Shin Bet. Earlier, Khalil al-Haya and Emad al-Alami of Hamas and Khaled al-Batsh of Islamic Jihad have traveled through the Rafah border crossing to Sinai after the Egyptians managed to receive assurances that Israel would not target them. Hamas is presenting a long list of demands including opening border crossings, the re-release of prisoners, and building an airport and seaport, while the two major Israeli objectives are to prevent Hamas rearming in the short term, and demilitarizing Gaza in the longer term, however Islamic Jihad senior representative Ziad al-Nakhaleh says disarming will not be discussed in the indirect negotiations:

This issue is nonnegotiable.

Israel: Struck 4,762 targets

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The IDF says it has struck around 4,762 targets in the 29 days of Operation Protective Edge prior to the 72-hour ceasefire, most of them rocket-launching sites, nearly 1,000 of them command and control centers, about 240 Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades buildings, nearly 200 weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, nearly 150 terror training compounds and 1,535 additional sites.

Israel: 597 rockets fired from civilian facilities

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The IDF says that of 3,365 rockets fired by Hamas in the 29 days of the 2014 Gaza conflict prior to the 72-hour ceasefire, 597 were launched from civilian facilities, approximately 260 were launched from schools, 127 from cemeteries, 160 from religious sites such as mosques, and 50 from hospitals. Just under 70% were fired from the northern Gaza Strip, 12.9% were fired from the central Gaza Strip, and 17.3% were fired from its southern region.