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European push for new UN resolution on Gaza
Published Friday 22/08/2014 (updated) 24/08/2014 14:40
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Smoke trails mark the path of Palestinian missiles fired from the
north-east of Gaza City on August 21, 2014.(AFP/Roberto Schmidt)
RAFAH (AFP) -- Britain, France and Germany have launched a fresh bid at the UN to end six weeks of violence in Gaza, after Israeli warplanes killed three top Hamas commanders, inflicting a heavy blow on the movement's armed wing.

The European initiative on Thursday came as fighting flared on the ground and an Egyptian-led effort to broker peace talks teetered on the verge of collapse.

In a document obtained by AFP, the three countries urged an immediate and sustainable ceasefire that would put an end to the firing of rockets and military operations in the Gaza Strip.

It calls for a lifting of the Israeli blockade and a monitoring mechanism to report on ceasefire violations and verify the flow of goods into the Gaza Strip.

Diplomats said the text was aimed at advancing efforts to reach agreement within the 15-member UN Security Council on a resolution after Jordan's draft text met with resistance, notably from the United States.

The so-called "elements" document lays out the parameters for a ceasefire deal that would address Israel's security concerns and meet Palestinian demands.

It asks UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to immediately come up with proposals to "implement the relevant provisions" in a move that could jump-start peace negotiations.

Bid to shore up Egypt's mediation

UN diplomats said they hoped the initiative would shore up the Egyptian-led peace track and lead to a lasting ceasefire that would avoid a relapse into war.

More than 2,083 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict that began on July 8, most of them civilians, according to UN officials.

The European-drafted document calls for the return of the Palestinian Authority to Gaza, which has been under Hamas control for the past seven years.

It provides for the lifting of economic and humanitarian restrictions on the Gaza Strip to allow for a massive reconstruction effort, and for the re-opening of border crossings.

An international monitoring and verification mission would be established with a mandate to report on ceasefire violations and check the flow of goods into Gaza -- a key point missing from the Jordanian draft resolution.

Ban has pledged international help to rebuild Gaza but warned that this would be "for the last time" after three wars in six years.

As the six-week war between Israel and Hamas raged on leaving truce talks in tatters, a pre-dawn air strike Thursday killed three members of the movement's armed wing, the al-Qassam Brigades.

"The assassination... is a big Israeli crime, which will not succeed in breaking our will or weakening our resistance," spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said.

Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency said Muhammad Abu Shammala and Raed al-Attar were among the top five most-wanted Hamas militants.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon hailed their deaths as "a big operational and intelligence achievement", and warned that Israel would not hesitate to track down the rest of the group's leaders.

Witnesses said nine missiles blasted the four-story building in Rafah to smithereens, leaving a huge crater.

Four surrounding buildings had their doors and windows blown out and some outer walls destroyed.

The body of Sabah Yunis, a four-year-old girl, was also pulled from the rubble, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said.

Abbas meets Mashaal

The deadly strikes came 36 hours after Israel tried and failed to assassinate Brigades chief Mohammed Deif, who has topped its most wanted list for more than a decade.

That attack leveled a six-story building in Gaza City, killing two women and three children, among them Deif's wife, his infant son and three-year-old daughter, although he escaped unharmed.

The UN has identified about 70 percent of them as civilians.

On the Israeli side, 67 people have been killed, 64 of them soldiers.

UN aid workers stepped up calls for an urgent ceasefire, warning that spiralling violence endangered their ability to respond to the needs of Gaza's 1.8 million people.

Despite the collapse of the negotiations, President Mahmoud Abbas held talks in Qatar with exiled Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, official Palestinian and Gulf news agencies said.

Also present were Azzam al-Ahmad, who led the Palestinian delegation at truce talks in Cairo, senior negotiator Saeb Erekat and Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj.

Arms embargo?

Israeli confidence in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has steadily declined during the war, but his 53 percent approval rating is still higher than before the conflict, according to a survey for the private Channel 2 television.

British aid charity Oxfam, meanwhile, urged the international community to "immediately suspend transfers of arms or ammunition while there is serious risk that they could be used to violate international humanitarian law".

It said the widespread killing of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure during the Israeli operation was the worst it had witnessed in 20 years of working in Gaza.
1 ) Trudi / Austria
22/08/2014 12:59
After accusing Israel of a conspiracy, a senior Hamas official, Saleh Al-Arouri, who is based in Turkey, admitted finally that his group had carried out the “heroic” act of kidnapping and murdering Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrach and Gil-Ad Shear in the Hebron area last June. “I praise the brave action that the al-Qassam Brigades carried out, the kidnapping of the three settlers to Hebron,” al-Arouri said in the recording. This crime triggered a major IDF offensive against Hamas on the West Bank.

2 ) marnie / israel
22/08/2014 13:01
The united states has too much blood on its hands and with that, is no better a negotiator than israel. They are the problem and therefore can't be of any benefit in negotiations and problem-solving, dirty little piggies that they are. Maybe the UN should be heavily involved, with germany, great britain, russia involved to keep things correct? Don't know, but sick of the united states/israel always messing things up.

3 ) Shvartzer Muldoon / Anguilla
22/08/2014 13:06
''Witnesses said nine missiles blasted the four-story building in Rafah to smithereens, leaving a huge crater.'' Regrettably the Hamas terrorists' Muhammad Abu Shammala and Raed al-Attar would not have felt a thing. Unlike the anguish and pain, they have bought on the residents of Gaza since 2006

4 ) Roxanne / Belgium
22/08/2014 15:10
@1 A claim, which unfortunately doesn't appear to have much substance or credibility Trudi, as much as you would obviously like to believe it does. A bit like urban myths really.

5 ) Michael Collins / Eire
22/08/2014 15:24
USA should butt out of the negotiations, it has never been a neutral broker & just creates constant problems, including making the world more unsafe by its policies & interference in the M.East. As long as it actively supports & funds Israel, instability will continue both for Palestine & all other M.East countries. Remove USA influence & peace will come. Also need all parties involved, Abbas just kneels before USRAEL, it needs a strong internal influence to take Palestine forward for the good.

6 ) Legal Eagle / Australia
22/08/2014 16:13
When will the world understand that self-determination means that Palestinians get to choose their own government, not the EU, not the US, and certainly not Israel? When will the world understand that unless and until Israel withdraws from illegally-occupied Palestinian territroy there will be no peace? When will the world understand that Palestinians have the SAME RIGHTS as everyone else, including the right to security - and self-defence against ongoing Israeli land-grabs and military attacks?

7 ) Mel / USA
22/08/2014 19:39
I would check your sources on that claim Trudi-truth?
And lest YE forget,BibiNuttyahu intentionally DID NOT tell the families of those Yeshiva/military Gush Etzion settlers,that their bodies had been found,leading everyone to belive they were still alive/held,in order to RANSACK & POGROM,in good ole Nazi/Shin Bet style,as many OCCUPIED Palestinian people in WB,under the guise of searching for lost LIVING persons.The Israeli OCCUPATION of Palestine is the "trigger"Trudi!

8 ) Outlier / USA
22/08/2014 23:14
6., Legal Eagle, Gazans did chose their government - Hamas. Look at the result. Yet again, I must remind you that Gaza is not occupied and Israel's control of the West Bank is due to winning a conflict with Arab countries it did not want, control which can and will be ceded to Palestinians in a negotiated settlement. West Bank Palestinians can achieve statehood through negotiation if they realize they - having supported the losing side - won't get all they desire in the final treaty.

9 ) @ Legal-6 / USA
23/08/2014 02:52
-1- Palestinians are probably no more capable of actually picking a government than Egyptians to the south or Syrians to the north, since armed factions will not give-up power, or change their own policies, regardless of what the people might want, and for your information the EU and the US only care that a Palestinian government chooses peace. -2- Palestinians already have their own lands, but their "state never had any territories", and both sides are equally land-grabbing.

10 ) @ Michael-5 / USA
23/08/2014 03:00
You are correct. - THE USA AND ALL OTHER NATIONS, "SHOULD BUTT OUT of the negotiations", until Palestinians choose peace, and - The sooner they all butt out, the more likely Palestinians are to choose peace in the coming years (though it may require decades or forever) !!

11 ) Trudi / Austria
23/08/2014 12:43
@7 I did Mel/USA, I did check and it's a corroborated fact I do not post gibberish. Saleh Al-Arouri, has not issued a denial of the recording, which was made while speaking with a group of clerics in Turkey, which had been organized by Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Al Jazeera Arabic's popular Doha-based mega-preacher. Do try and keep up with world affairs.

12 ) Dick Tracy / USA
23/08/2014 18:13
Stop gloating Trudi (1 & 11). Looks like this was a rogue operation that went wrong. Khalid Meshaal said today that Hamas leadership had no prior knowledge of the kidnapping, although it's now known to have been carried out by people who claim allegiance to Hamas. Logically one cannot draw universal conclusions from particular instances, ie if a couple of boy scouts do something wrong, doesn't mean all boys scouts are bad. Also Bibi's not off the hook for lying about the boys being alive 18 days

13 ) Andy / UK
24/08/2014 02:01
Trudi: Despite Al-Arouri's boast from the safety of Turkey he revealed nothing new, the murderers being associated with Hamas is not in dispute. The leadership have acknowledged that the killers had affiliation to them. However, Hamas officials have denied any connection with the the planning or approval of the kidnappings. Attempts to pin the crime on Hamas leaders is akin to blaming a football club for criminal actions committed by their supporters. Israeli use of victims should be questioned.

14 ) inbound39 / New Zealand
24/08/2014 03:29
Hamas has been more effective in its resistance to Occupation in 43 days than Abbas has been in four years. Israel has been ineffective in stopping rockets and has lost more military personnel than it lost in Lebanon and Israel still has no real solution. Even Ben Gurion Airport was closed by Hamas. Hamas being a Palestinian Resistance movement has as much right to defend its territory as Israel. Israel is the Occupier.The Aggressor.

15 ) joey / phil
24/08/2014 06:04
world must push for arm embargo to israel
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