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Jul 29, 2014

Israel intensifies Gaza assault, Egyptians revise truce plan

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel knocked out Gaza’s only power plant and pounded dozens of other high-profile targets on Tuesday, while Egyptian mediators prepared a revised proposal for halting its war with Islamist guerrillas in the enclave. Israel’s Channel Two TV said progress was being made on such a deal in Cairo, where a Palestinian delegation is expected later on Tuesday, although the station retracted an earlier report that a truce had already been provisionally agreed.

Health officials said at least 85 Palestinians died in some of heaviest bombardments from air, sea and land since Israel’s offensive began on July 8 in response to rocket salvoes fired by Gaza’s dominant Hamas Islamists and their guerrilla allies.

Jul 28, 2014

Gaza fighting flares, Netanyahu and UN chief spar on truce terms

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A fragile truce in Gaza for the Muslim Eid al-Fitr festival was fraying on Monday as Israel’s prime minister said United Nations calls for a long-term ceasefire ignored his country’s security needs.

Israeli forces said they were firing only when fired upon while army engineers hunted infiltrator tunnels from the Gaza Strip’s eastern frontier. They accused Palestinians of firing 17 rockets across the border, causing no casualties.

Jul 28, 2014

U.S.-Israeli tensions rise as hostilities in Gaza subside

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel sees no need for another Gaza ceasefire, an Israeli official was quoted as saying on Monday, as tensions between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government and Washington flared over U.S. mediation to end the almost three-week-old war.

Fighting had subsided over the weekend, with the battered Palestinian enclave’s dominant Hamas Islamists endorsing a U.N. call for a 24-hour halt ahead of Monday’s Eid al-Fitr festival.

Jul 25, 2014

Crunch time for Gaza truce talks as death toll passes 800

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed regional proxies to nail down a Gaza ceasefire on Friday as the civilian death toll soared, threatening to spread Israeli-Palestinian bloodshed to the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem.

With Israel and Islamist Hamas setting seemingly irreconcilable terms for a truce that mediators hope will begin by a major Muslim festival next week, Kerry worked the phones from Egypt while aides made clear his patience was limited.

Jul 24, 2014

U.S. lifts ban on flights to Israel as Gaza toll tops 700

GAZA/JERUSALEM, July 24 (Reuters) – Israel won a partial
reprieve from the economic pain of its Gaza war on Thursday with
the lifting of a U.S. ban on commercial flights to Tel Aviv,
while continued fighting pushed the Palestinian death toll over
700.

A truce remained elusive despise intensive mediation
efforts. Israel says it needs more time to eradicate rocket
stocks and cross-border tunnels in the Gaza Strip and Hamas
Islamists demand the blockade on the enclave be lifted.

Jul 23, 2014

Abbas-led Palestinian body backs Hamas truce demands in Gaza

GAZA/JERUSALEM, July 23 (Reuters) – The Palestinian
decision-making body led by U.S.-backed President Mahmoud Abbas
on Wednesday endorsed demands by Hamas for halting Gaza
hostilities with Israel, a closing of ranks that may help
Egyptian-mediated truce efforts.

With Israeli and U.S. encouragement, Egypt has tried to get
both sides to hold fire and then negotiate terms for protracted
calm in the Palestinian enclave where officials said 624 people,
mostly civilians, have been killed in 15 days of fighting.

Jul 21, 2014

Netanyahu hopes limited goals will let him manage Gaza crisis

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Shunning calls from political allies to “go all the way” against Gaza, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to avoid a protracted war that few see as winnable.

But deaths among Palestinian civilians and a mounting toll on Israel’s ground troops could upend his strategy of a limited offensive aimed at ending Hamas rocket fire from the enclave, Israeli experts and foreign diplomats say.

Jul 19, 2014

Extension of Iran nuclear talks gets mixed Israeli response

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel responded skeptically to the extension of Iranian nuclear talks with world powers on Saturday, saying it saw no cause for the optimism voiced by some Western diplomats about prospects for an accord.

After failing to meet a July 20 deadline for a deal, international negotiators agreed to allow four more months for their high-stakes talks and let Iran access $2.8 billion of its cash frozen abroad during that period, though most sanctions against it stayed in place.

Jul 19, 2014

Israeli tanks dig in at Gaza frontier as Palestinian toll tops 300

GAZA/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli soldiers in tanks and bulldozers dug in across a mile-wide strip of eastern Gaza on Saturday as Palestinian officials said military strikes had pushed the mostly civilian death toll past 300.

The military said its engineers were concentrating on an effective buffer-zone 2.5 km (1.5 mile) wide and were looking to destroy tunnels dug in secret by Hamas after the last major fighting there in 2012.

Jul 18, 2014

Israel reduces diplomatic presence in Turkey amid protests

ISTANBUL/JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel said on Friday it was reducing its diplomatic presence in Turkey after protesters angered by its ground offensive into Gaza pelted its consulate in Istanbul with stones and draped Palestinian flags on the ambassador’s residence in Ankara.

The Israeli foreign ministry accused the Turkish authorities of “grossly violating” diplomatic regulations during the demonstrations and said it was ordering the return of diplomats’ families and trimming staffing to a minimum.