U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Nov. 21, 2012. (Xinhua/pool)
RAMALLAH, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Wednesday that Washington was working hard to end cross-border fire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups in Gaza, a Palestinian official said.
"President Abbas urged Clinton to accelerate" efforts to broker a ceasefire, Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, told reporters in the West Bank city of Ramallah, where Abbas and Clinton met.
Clinton arrived in Ramallah, the second leg of her emergency regional visit, which started Tuesday by meeting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Abbas told Clinton that all Palestinian factions, including Hamas that controls Gaza, "seek to enforce a mutual and comprehensive lull making sure that Israel will stop its assassinations in Gaza."
Israel launched an aerial offensive by targeting Ahmed al- Jaabari, the commander of Hamas' military wing, a week ago. The attack dealt a blow to Hamas, prompting it to shower Israeli towns with rockets, reaching for the first time the outskirts of Jerusalem and the central city of Tel Aviv. The death toll among the Palestinians had exceeded 130 while it was five in Israel.
Erekat noted that Clinton would later go to Egypt and discuss with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi about the truce efforts. Egypt is heavily involved in attempts to broker an end for the new round of hostilities.
Erekat accused Israel of delaying a truce by threatening a ground invasion in Gaza, which he described as "blackmail."
Meanwhile, Erekat said that Clinton reiterated the U.S. opposition to the Palestinian plans of upgrading their UN status to a non-member observer state, which will be presented to the UN on Nov. 29.
Clinton wanted Abbas at least to put off the bid for the UN status upgrade, while Abbas said the Palestinians have already made their decision "to put a Palestinian state on pre-1967 borders with its capital in East Jerusalem on the geographic map."
GAZA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- Eight Palestinians were killed and several others injured on Tuesday evening in the ongoing intensive Israeli war jets airstrikes on the Gaza Strip, medical sources and witnesses said.
The sources told Xinhua that three were killed in a fresh Israeli airstrike on a house of a Hamas activist in eastern Gaza city, adding that three more were injured. Full story
GAZA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- A group of Gaza teens had a painful feeling mixed with satisfaction, as they kept looking at the convoy of an Arab League (AL) delegation headed by chief Nabil al- Arabi entering Shiffa Hospital to visit those wounded in the seven- day Israeli aerial attack on the Gaza Strip.
The AL delegation, which included al-Arabi, 13 Arab foreign ministers as well as their Turkey counterpart, was touring in the biggest hospital in the coastal enclave, as ambulances were still bringing casualties. Full story
GAZA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The large-scale Israeli aerial military operation on the Gaza Strip that have been going on for seven days may lead to a new approach between the divided Palestinians in two separated territories, the Gaza Strip and West Bank.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah Party made positive steps towards reconciling with Islamic Hamas movement. However, Palestinian observers believe that it is not necessary that the heavy strikes on Hamas in Gaza would bring positive indications towards a better future. Full story
GENEVA, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) Navi Pillay said she was "acutely concerned" about Palestinian and Israeli civilians caught up in the ongoing conflict in Gaza and southern Israel, spokesperson Rupert Colville said Tuesday.
"She is dismayed by the marked surge in the number of Palestinian civilians, including women and children, killed and injured over the past 48 hours as a result of Israeli military action," he told a press briefing. Full story