LIVE UPDATES: Israeli soldier succumbs to rocket wounds, raising death toll to 72


PMO: Netanyahu never agreed to ’67 borders; Hamas leader Khaled Meshal says group’s military chief Mohammed Deif is ‘fine’; IDF shoots in the air to disperse crowd of Gazans gathered next to security fence.

The cease-fire between Hamas and Israel continued to hold on Thursday, two days after it went into effect and ended 50 days of fighting between the two sides.

Hamas declared victory following the cease-fire, with celebratory parades in Gaza. Hamas’ deputy political leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, emerged from hiding and made his first public appearance at a rally in Gaza City on Wednesday evening.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared in a press conference on Wednesday that Israel had secured a “great military and political” achievement in the Gaza war and that Hamas had been dealt a “heavy blow.”

10:45 A.M. An Israeli soldier who was critically wounded by a Gaza-rocket which exploded in Gan Yavne last Friday succumbed to his wounds, raising the number of fatalities on the Israeli side to 72. (Shirly Seidler)

Latest updates [Thursday]:

11:39 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wife Sara visited the bereaved family of Daniel Turgeman, who was killed in a Gaza mortar attack last week. While at the family home in Nahal Oz near the Gaza border, Netanyahu said, referring to the violence in the area: “It all started with the Disengagement.” The Israeli disengagement from Gaza was the dismantling of the Israeli settlements in Gaza in 2005, coupled with the pulling back of military presence in the coastal enclave. (Jack Khoury)

11:03 P.M. The Prime Minister’s Office flatly denied Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ contention tonight that PM Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders. “No such thing ever happened,” Netanyahu’s office said. (Barak Ravid)

9:24 P.M.  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in an interview on Palestinian TV interview that PM Netanyahu agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state on 67 borders, and that the only remaining step is to set a border.

Abbas also said that two PA officials, senior negotiator Saeb Erekat and intelligence chief Majed Faraj, are to meet with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry next week to discuss a future Palestinian state’s borders.

Abbas said that in future negotiations with Israel the Palestinians will not agree to discuss technical details but will demand to define clear borders between the two states. 

” … We will not wait 20 more years,” he added. “If they don’t agree, we have options.” (Jack Khoury)

8:58 P.M. Hamas leader Khaled Meshal says that his organization still has rockets and tunnels at its disposal, and will not hesitate to use them against Israel again if the negotiations for a long-term truce, set to begin within a month, come to naught.

“If necessary, if the negotiations fail, we will return to resistance until our goals are achieved,” Hamas’ political chief said at a news conference Thursday night in Qatar, where he is based.

Meshal also described the condition of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, whom the Israel Air Force tried to assassinate on August 19, as “fine.” (Jack Khoury)

12:59 P.M. Fatah official: We will turn to the United Nations on September 15 to demand a deadline for Israel’s withdrawal to 1967 borders. (Jack Khoury) 

12:36 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas held a secret meeting in Amman days before the cease-fire was signed ending the war in Gaza, the Jordanian newspaper Alghrad reported on Thursday.

No details were given about the meeting, and no official from Jordan, Israel or the Palestinian Authority would confirm that it in fact happened.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu will convene the political-security cabinet on Thursday evening at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv to discuss the cease-fire, which has held now for two days.

Netanyahu told a press conference on Wednesday night that Israel had secured a “great military and political” achievement in the Gaza war and that Hamas had been dealt a “heavy blow.”

Responding to a journalist’s question, the prime minister said: “We would be happy to see Abu-Mazen’s [Abbas’] forces enter the Gaza Strip.” The Palestinian president, he said “has to decide which side he is on. We hope he will continue to support a peace deal with Israel.” (Jack Khoury and Barak Ravid) Full article

12:12 P.M. IDF shoots in the air to disperse crowd of Gazans gathered next to security fence with Israel. (Gili Cohen)

11:33 P.M. Political-security cabinet will meet at 8 P.M. at the defense ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv to discuss the holding Gaza cease-fire. (Barak Ravid)

10:44 A.M. Shin Bet arrests 16 Israeli Arabs suspected of contact with Hezbollah. (Gili Cohen)

10:34 A.M. High Court rejects petition for military police probe into Bil’in protester’s death. (Haaretz)

8:23 A.M. 12 Palestinians arrested overnight in West Bank, including seven Hamas members, according to the IDF. (Gili Cohen)



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