Israelis and Palestinians must join forces against Hamas, says Trump envoy Greenblatt


In his piece, Greenblatt cited two cases, in 2011 and 2016, in which he says Palestinian firefighters joined their Israeli counterparts to combat massive conflagrations that had spread and wreaked havoc in Israel, as examples of the kind of cooperation that should exist between the two entities.

"We are closer to an arrangement than we have been in the past because Hamas's interest in a deal is greater than its wish for escalation", he said.

The Republican Jewish Coalition tweeted Thursday "we stand with Israel" after reports Hamas-backed Palestinians have steadily fired rockets into Gaza, wounding seven people.

The Israeli strike later Thursday, after the rocket landed near Beersheba, hit a building that Palestinians say housed a cultural centre and other offices in the middle of the city.

Strikingly, the word "respond", or any variation thereof, appears only in context of Hamas responding to Israeli strikes: "Hamas, the Islamic militant group that has ruled Gaza for 11 years, has been trying to change the balance of deterrence in the area, responding to every Israeli strike against Gaza".

Three Palestinians were killed during pre dawn Israeli airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip Thursday. Local health officials said 18 bystanders were wounded by the blast.

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Rocket warning sirens sounded nearly non-stop in the southern Israeli towns and border communities near Gaza from sunset on Wednesday. "They are fraught with new civilian casualties on both sides and a steep slide of the humanitarian situation in the Palestinian enclave". The explosion shook buildings in Gaza City as dust and grey smoke filled the air, a Reuters witness said.

As Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, put it, the "current Israeli bombardment sequence in Gaza started when the Israeli military killed two Palestinians, lied about why, and later admitted to doing so just as a high level Palestinian delegation was on its way to Cairo to discuss longer term cease-fire".

Overnight on Wednesday, three Palestinians - including a woman and her 18-month-old baby - were killed by an Israeli air strike inside Gaza.

Israeli sirens continued to blare, warning of incoming rockets, while airstrikes hit more targets in Gaza, even after Palestinian factions declared that the round of violence was "over".

On Tuesday, Israeli tank fire had killed two members of Hamas' military wing.

"We urge the Palestinians and the Israelis to display restraint and to take measures towards ruling out the relapses of violence with unpredictable aftermaths", Zakharova said.

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The military said more than 180 rockets and mortar bombs were fired from Gaza.

"Bayan was sleeping with her mother and father".

On Twitter, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri echoed similar sentiments, and called on the global community to "shoulder its responsibilities towards Israel's aggression and siege".

Palestinian protesters were expected to gather along the Israeli border on Friday evening, as they have every week since late March. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Gaza sniper during this period.

The United Nations representative to the peace process, Nickolay Mladenov, who has attempted to help mediate a cease-fire, said he was "deeply alarmed" by the latest events and warned that they risk turning into a "conflict that nobody wants".

The Gaza Strip, home to almost two million Palestinians, has been reeling under a crippling Israeli blockade since 2007.

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