Palestine flashpoints: Gaza death toll slows, as ceasefire efforts intensify

#GazaUnderAttack

Sixteen Palestinians were killed on Sunday, in one of the quietest days of the military offensive, while international ceasefire efforts were stepped up

Displaced Palestinian boys buy sweets after the Eid prayer at a UN school in Jabalia in north Gaza (AFP)
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Friday 24 October 2014 19:00 BST
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Sunday night was the quietest night in Gaza since Israel launched a military offensive on 7 July. There were, however, still 16 Palestinians killed over the course of the day.

In the West Bank, there were more clashes between Palestinians and Israeli troops, while a car filled with explosives was reportedly stopped from entering Israel via a military checkpoint.

International efforts aimed at securing a long-term ceasefire agreement are intensifying, with both the UN Security Council and US President Barack Obama calling for an immediate truce.

Here are is a roundup of all the latest developments in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as a summary of the ceasefire proposals. 

Gaza

  • On Monday morning, the death toll in Gaza had risen to at least 1,035. More than 6,200 people have now been injured, according to the Health Ministry.                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  • UNICEF said on Sunday that 218 children have been killed in Gaza. The UN agency for children said two thirds of these casualties have been under the age of 12.                                                                                                                                                                                            
  • A total of 16 Palestinians were killed by Israeli attacks on the coastal enclave over the course of Sunday. The reduction in the daily death toll marked the quietest night since Israel’s offensive began.                                                                                                                      
  • 40 Israeli soldiers have now been killed in the Gaza ground offensive. Three Israeli civilians have been killed by rocket fire from the strip.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
  • Rocket fire has fallen dramatically from Gaza. Hamas' Ministry of Interior has warned, however, that this is a tactical move and not indicative of a ceasefire agreement.                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported that its office in Gaza was attacked on Sunday by an angry crowd. No staff were injured, although there was some damage to the building. Palestinians are frustrated with the ICRC for being unable to offer effective support in protecting them from Israeli attacks.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  • Israel admitted that it fired a mortar shell at a UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun on Thursday but concluded that the playground was empty at the time and that the attack had caused no casualties. The UN said 15 Palestinians were killed in the attack and have called for a full inquiry into the incident.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
  • Monday is the first day of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. A reporter for Ma’an News said that instead of “opening their houses to accept guests” Palestinians will be “accepting visitors paying condolences”.

West Bank

  • 20-year-old Amir Shweiki is still in intensive care two days after being attacked by a group of Israelis near the settlement of Neve Yaakov in East Jerusalem.                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  • Israeli police said on Sunday that they stopped a car filled with explosives from reaching Israel via a West Bank checkpoint. There were clashes through the night in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, between protesters and Israeli troops, with Ma’an News saying dozens of people were injured.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
  • The trial of murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir began in Jerusalem on Sunday. 30-year-old Yosef Haim Ben-David has confessed to the killing and will make a plea of insanity in court.

Ceasefire push

  • Barack Obama called Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday to say a ceasefire is a “strategic imperative”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  • The Americans are angry with what they describe as “offensive” criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry’s ceasefire initiative, which was the subject of much scorn in Israel media over Sunday.                                                                                                                                             
  • The UN Security Council met on Sunday evening and issued a statement calling for an “immediate and unconditional humanitarian ceasefire”. The 15-member body also voiced “grave concern regarding the deterioration in the situation as a result of the crisis related to Gaza and the loss of civilian lives and casualties”.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
  • There appears to still be significant distance between both Israel and Hamas over a ceasefire agreement. Israel has rejected Kerry’s proposal, which included provisions to negotiate an end to the siege of Gaza, while Hamas refuses to accept an Egyptian brokered deal. 
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