MOSCOW, July 24 /ITAR-TASS/. In connection with aggravation of the Palestinian-Israeli standoff, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Jordanian counterpart Nasser Judeh have stressed that direct Palestino-Israeli talks should be resumed as soon as possible, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.
During their phone conversation on Thursday, Lavrov and Judeh discussed the situation around the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave. The two countries’ top diplomats emphasized that all parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should comply with international law.
The two top diplomats supported Egypt’s initiative to reach an agreement on a stable ceasefire. They also expressed their common viewpoint that the Middle East Quartet of international mediators (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia) should boost its activity in close coordination with the Arab League.
The phone conversation was requested by the Jordanian side.
Israeli-Palestinian relations grew sour after June 12, 2014, when three Jewish teenagers were abducted in the West Bank. Later the teenagers were found killed. Israel accused militants of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), which controls the Gaza Strip, of committing the crime.
On July 8, 2014, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced the start of the Protective Edge operation in the Gaza Strip against Hamas militants.
Thursday, July 24, was one of the bloodiest days since July 8. According to the Palestinian side, today more than 100 people were killed and some 600 were injured as a result of Israel’s air strikes on the Palestinian enclave.
The overall death toll over the 17 days of unending air and artillery strikes and army attacks is nearing 800. The death count includes 190 underage people, 70 women and some 40 elders of Gaza. Thousands were wounded.
As a result of today’s attack on a school of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in the city of Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, 15 people were killed and dozens wounded. Gaza authorities say Israeli artillery fired four shells on the building where refugees were hiding. The toll includes women, children and UN officials.
Israel’s losses since the start of the Protective Edge operation have totaled 34 people. The death toll includes 32 servicemen and two civilians.
Earlier, Cairo proposed an initiative to settle the current crisis. In particular, it envisions cessation of military operations and subsequent indirect talks in the Egyptian capital Cairo between the conflicting parties. However, Hamas rejected the offer saying that the blockade of Gaza imposed in 2006 should be fully lifted for a ceasefire to be agreed.