Netanyahu-led initiative on Gaza in ‘advanced stage of negotiations’

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Israeli media announced that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed his cabinet that he will be putting forward a political initiative on Gaza, the coastal enclave under the control of Hamas.

According to sources, this political initiative is in an advanced stage of negotiations with the UN, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Authority and the militant group Hamas.

Local media also revealed that this initiative is based on the “rehabilitation of Gaza”, its return under the Palestinian Authority's rule and achieving a full ceasefire.

Since last March, at least 140 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli armed forces in weekly border demonstrations as part of “The Great March of Return” which culminated on May 15 to mark what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba, a reference to the forced removal of their homes and land in 1948 when the Hebrew state was established that year.

Israel says that Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, is using the protests as a cover for cross-border attacks. Hamas denies this.

Palestinian militants have in recent weeks fired hundreds of rockets into Israel from Gaza and have opened fire at Israeli troops across the border, killing one soldier and drawing fatal Israeli air and tank strikes.

Palestinians want to establish a state in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, territories that Israel took control of in the 1967 Middle East war.

Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, annexed East Jerusalem in a move not recognized internationally and maintains control over more than half the West Bank, where the Palestinians have limited self-rule.

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