Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on...

Palestinians displaced by the Israeli air and ground offensive on the Gaza Strip, light a fire to keep away mosquitoes and other insects, which have recently infested the streets of the southern town of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Thursday, July 4, 2024. Credit: AP/Jehad Alshrafi

Hamas says amendments it proposed to the most recent U.S. plan for a cease-fire in Gaza “have been met with a positive response by the mediators.” However, “the official Israeli position has not yet become clear,” and no date for negotiations has been set, Hamas spokesperson Jihad Taha said Friday.

Cease-fire talks between Israel and Hamas appear to be reviving after having stalled for weeks, as U.S., Qatari and Egyptian mediators try to overcome differences that have repeatedly thwarted a deal.

Late Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he was sending negotiators to Qatar next week, but “there are still gaps between the parties.”

Hamas wants an agreement that ensures Israeli troops fully leave Gaza and that the war ends, while Israel says it cannot halt the war before the Palestinian militant group is eliminated. Post-war governance and security control of the enclave have also been contentious issues.

In the occupied West Bank, Palestinian health officials say an Israeli military operation and airstrike killed seven Palestinians on Friday. The Islamic Jihad militant group named four of the dead as its members. Violence has surged throughout the West Bank during nearly nine months of war in Gaza.

Israel launched the war in Gaza after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, in which militants stormed into southern Israel, killed some 1,200 people — mostly civilians — and abducted about 250.

Since then, Israeli ground offensives and bombardments have killed more than 38,000 people in Gaza, according to the territory’s Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians in its count.

Gunmen march in the funeral for three people killed in...

Gunmen march in the funeral for three people killed in an Israeli military operation, in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank city of Jenin, Friday, July 5, 2024. The Israeli military said Friday it was conducting counterterrorism activity that included an airstrike in the area of the West Bank city of Jenin. Palestinian authorities said five people were killed. Credit: AP/Majdi Mohammed

The war has caused massive devastation across the besieged territory and displaced most of its 2.3 million people, often multiple times. Israeli restrictions, ongoing fighting and the breakdown of law and order have curtailed humanitarian aid efforts, causing widespread hunger and sparking fears of famine. The top U.N. court has concluded there is a “plausible risk of genocide” in Gaza — a charge Israel strongly denies.

Currently:

— A look at how settlements have grown in the West Bank over the years

— Seven Palestinians killed in the West Bank as Israel conducts military operation in the Jenin area.

Israeli military vehicles maneuver during an operation in the West...

Israeli military vehicles maneuver during an operation in the West Bank city of Jenin, Friday, July 5, 2024. The Israeli military said Friday it was conducting counterterrorism activity that included an airstrike in the area of the West Bank city of Jenin. Palestinian authorities said five people were killed. Credit: AP/Majdi Mohammed

— Israel weighs Hamas’ latest response to Gaza cease-fire proposal as diplomatic efforts are revived.

— Iran holds runoff presidential vote pitting hard-liner against reformist after record low turnout.

— Fires have become the most visible sign of the conflict heating up on the Lebanon-Israel border.

— Pro-Palestinian protesters breach security at Australia’s Parliament House to unfurl banners.

— Follow AP’s coverage of the war in Gaza at https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.

Here’s the latest:

Fuel shortages in Gaza lead to difficult choices on who gets power, threatening hospital patients and cutting water supplies

UNITED NATIONS – The United Nations says an acute shortage of fuel in Gaza is causing blackouts in hospitals, threatening the lives of newborns and kidney patients, and dramatically cutting water supplies and sanitation facilities in the hot summer.

The U.N. and its partners are being forced to “make impossible choices” because of the lack of fuel, said U.N. World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a post Friday on X.

Gaza’s health sector requires 80,000 liters of fuel every day, Tedros said, but only 90,000 liters entered Gaza on Thursday for all needs, forcing these stark choices.

Currently, the U.N.’s partner organizations are directing limited fuel supplies to key hospitals including Nasser, Amal and the Kuwaiti Field Hospital and to 21 Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances “to prevent services from grinding to a halt,” he said.

According to WHO, power blackouts at neonatal, dialysis, and intensive care units are already placing lives at risk and “injured people are dying because ambulances are facing delays due to shortages of fuel,” the U.N. Office for Humanitarian Affairs known as OCHA reported Friday.

Gaza also requires 70,000 liters daily for its water, sanitation and hygiene needs, OCHA said, but between June 22-28 it only received 51,490 liters – about 10% of its requirements.

“As a result, at least 50% of water wells across Gaza that remain functional temporarily stopped pumping water, cutting their combined water production in half, and about 106 water trucks have ceased operations,” OCHA said. “In addition, two desalination plants in central and southern Gaza ceased operations on June 30 and July 1 due to the lack of fuel.”

In addition, damage to the al-Muntar water pipeline in Gaza City, one of three water pipelines coming from Israel, led to its shutdown over the past week, OCHA said. That has caused further reductions in the total water supply in Gaza from an average of 112,000 cubic meters per day as of June 26 to an estimated 66,200 cubic meters since June 30, U.N. and other experts reported.

In southern Khan Younis, where Israel ordered a major evacuation on July 1, OCHA said the municipal emergency committee warned Thursday that “fuel shortages have halted the operation of wastewater systems and aggravated sewage overflow into populated areas in southern Gaza, heightening health and environmental risks.”

WHO’s Tedros said hostilities in southern Rafah have completely obstructed the main fuel storage facility there, and he issued an urgent appeal to reopen the Rafah crossing from Egypt to allow regular deliveries of fuel, food, medical supplies and other desperately needed items.

UN warns that escalating exchanges between Hezbollah and Israel risk full-scale war

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations is warning that the increasing intensity of exchanges between the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and Israel “heightens the risk of a full-scale war.”

“Escalation can and must be avoided,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Friday.

He pointed to escalating exchanges across the U.N.-drawn boundary between Israel and Lebanon known as the Blue Line on Thursday. They followed Israel’s killing of a senior commander in Hezbollah on Wednesday.

“We reiterate that the danger of miscalculation leading to a sudden and wider conflagration is real,” Dujarric said. “A political and diplomatic solution is the only viable way forward.”

The U.N. spokesman said the Lebanese Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee expressed support Thursday for the U.N. peacekeeping force along the Blue Line in southern Lebanon and for the 2006 U.N. resolution calling for a cease-fire between Hezbollah and Israel in the Lebanon war that year.

The United Nations urges the parties to return to a cessation of hostilities and recommit to implementing the 2006 resolution.

The U.N. special coordinator for Lebanon, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, also met Thursday with Lebanese officials, including Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, “underscoring the need for de-escalation across the Blue Line,” Dujarric said.

International diplomats are scrambling to prevent near-daily clashes between Israel and Hezbollah from spiraling into an all-out war that could possibly lead to a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran, which is Hezbollah’s main backer. Hezbollah says it will stop its attacks if Israel agrees to a cease-fire with Hamas in its nine-month war in the Gaza Strip.

Some Israeli officials have said they are seeking a diplomatic solution and hope to avoid war. At the same time, they have warned that destruction seen in Gaza will be repeated in Lebanon if war breaks out.

Hezbollah, meanwhile, is far more powerful than Hamas and believed to have a vast arsenal of rockets and missiles capable of striking anywhere in Israel.

Israeli negotiators will resume cease-fire talks next week, Netanyahu says

JERUSALEM — A team of Israeli negotiators will resume talks next week on a cease-fire with Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Friday, signaling progress toward a deal to end the war in Gaza even as no agreement has been reached.

Netanyahu's office said negotiators will emphasize to U.S., Qatari and Egyptian mediators “there are still gaps between the parties” during talks in Doha, Qatar's capital.

The brief Israeli statement came hours after Hamas said its proposed amendments to a U.S. plan for a cease-fire “have been met with a positive response by the mediators.” The Palestinian militant group said Friday there was no set date for negotiations, and said Israel's official position wasn't yet known.

Cease-fire talks appear to be reviving after stalling for weeks. Hamas wants an agreement that ensures Israeli troops fully leave Gaza and the war ends, while Netanyahu says the war cannot end before Hamas is eliminated. Post-war governance and security control of the enclave have also been contentious issues.

Hamas says it got a 'positive response' from mediators about the group's proposed amendments to cease-fire, but no Israeli response yet

Beirut — A spokesperson for Hamas said Friday that the group’s proposed amendments to the most recent U.S. proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza “have been met with a positive response by the mediators” but “the official Israeli position has not yet become clear.”

“The date of the negotiations has not yet been set and this depends on the response of (Israel),” Hamas spokesperson Jihad Taha said. He said that the position of Hamas on the proposal is “unified” between the group’s military leadership in Gaza and its political leadership outside, without elaborating.

On Wednesday, the Palestinian militant group said it had sent proposed amendments to the mediators, Egypt and Qatar, in response to the latest cease-fire proposal put forward by the U.S.,

U.S. officials have said the first phase in the current proposal would see a “full and complete cease-fire,” a withdrawal of Israeli forces from all densely populated areas of Gaza and the release of a number of hostages, including women, older people and the wounded, in exchange for the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners.

The parties would negotiate the terms of the second phase during the 42 days of phase one. Under the current proposal, Hamas could release all of the remaining men, both civilians and soldiers, during the second phase. In return, Israel could free an agreed-upon number of Palestinian prisoners and detainees. The releases wouldn’t occur until “sustainable calm” takes effect and all Israeli troops withdraw from Gaza. The third phase would see the return of the remains of hostages.

The mechanism for the transition from the first to second phase has been the main sticking point in the negotiations so far. Hamas has insisted on a permanent end to the war, while Israeli officials have said they would not end the war before destroying Hamas’ political and military capabilities.

Post-war governance and security control of the enclave has also been a contentious issue.

Hamas said in a statement Friday that it rejects “plans to bring foreign forces into the (Gaza) Strip under any name or justification” and that administration of Gaza “is a purely Palestinian matter, agreed upon by our Palestinian people in all their diversity.”

The U.S. has previously said that countries like Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey could consider participating in and contributing to “day after” scenarios for the Palestinian territory.

Hamas officials meet in Lebanon with the leaders of Hezbollah and another militant group as Gaza cease-fire talks appear revived

BEIRUT — Hamas officials met with leaders of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah and another allied armed group Friday, as Israel and Hamas apparently return to the negotiating table for a cease-fire in Gaza and amid fears of an escalation on the Lebanese front.

Hezbollah said in a statement that its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, had met with a delegation headed by Khalil al-Hayya, a high-ranking Hamas official who has represented the Palestinian militants in negotiations for a cease-fire and hostage exchange. It said they had discussed “the latest developments in the negotiations” and “security and political developments” in Gaza and the region. The statement also said they “confirmed the continuation of field and political coordination at all levels in order to achieve the desired goals.”

Also Friday, Hamas said in a statement that its top political leader, Ismail Hanieh, had received Mohammed Takkoush, the head of al-Jamaa al-Islamiya, or the Islamic Group, a Sunni Muslim political and armed group in Lebanon that has been fighting against Israeli forces alongside the Shiite Hezbollah.

The two Lebanese groups have been part of a “support front” that has maintained low-level clashes with Israeli forces with the aim of pulling them away from Gaza to ease the pressure on Hamas. In recent weeks, however, there have been increasing fears of a full-blown war on the Lebanon-Israel front.

7 Palestinians killed in West Bank as Israel conducts military operation in the area of Jenin

JERUSALEM — Palestinian authorities say seven people were killed Friday during an Israeli military operation in the area of the West Bank city of Jenin, where the Israeli military said it had been carrying out “counterterrorism activity” that included an airstrike.

The military said Israeli soldiers had “encircled a building where terrorists have barricaded themselves in” and the soldiers had exchanged fire with those inside, while an airstrike had “struck several armed terrorists” in the area.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said a total of seven people had been killed, but did not specify whether they died in the exchange of fire or the airstrike. The Islamic Jihad militant group named four of the dead as its members.

The clashes in Jenin, a known militant stronghold where the army frequently operates, came a day after an Israeli anti-settlement monitoring group said the government plans to build nearly 5,300 new homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Violence has spiraled in the West Bank since the start of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza. The Palestinian Health Ministry says over 500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire in the West Bank since the start of the war. Most have been killed during Israeli raids and violent protests. The dead also include bystanders and Palestinians killed in attacks by Jewish settlers.

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