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Israel-Gaza violence: US envoy arrives for de-escalation talks Israel-Gaza violence: US envoy arrives for de-escalation talks
(about 1 hour later)
At least 133 people have been killed in Gaza and eight have died in Israel A baby survived an Israeli air strike on Saturday in the Gaza Strip
A US envoy has arrived in Tel Aviv for de-escalation talks as unrest between Israel and the Palestinians continues.A US envoy has arrived in Tel Aviv for de-escalation talks as unrest between Israel and the Palestinians continues.
Hady Amr will take part in talks with Israeli, Palestinian and UN officials and reinforce what US diplomats said was the need for a "sustainable calm".Hady Amr will take part in talks with Israeli, Palestinian and UN officials and reinforce what US diplomats said was the need for a "sustainable calm".
Israeli air strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip killed 10 people on Saturday, while Palestinian militants there fired rockets into Israel.Israeli air strikes on targets in the Gaza Strip killed 10 people on Saturday, while Palestinian militants there fired rockets into Israel.
This week's violence in Gaza and Israel is the worst since 2014.This week's violence in Gaza and Israel is the worst since 2014.
It came after weeks of spiralling Israeli-Palestinian tension in East Jerusalem which culminated in clashes at a holy site revered by both Muslims and Jews. Hamas - the militant Islamist group which rules Gaza - began firing rockets after warning Israel to withdraw from the site, triggering retaliatory air strikes.
At least 133 people have been killed in Gaza and eight have died in Israel since the fighting began.At least 133 people have been killed in Gaza and eight have died in Israel since the fighting began.
The Israel-Palestinian conflict explained Mothers fear for their children
What makes Jerusalem so holy? Why an Israeli mayor is warning of civil war
On Friday, clashes spread to the West Bank, with at least 11 Palestinians killed and hundreds injured. Israeli forces used teargas, rubber bullets and live fire, as Palestinians threw petrol bombs.On Friday, clashes spread to the West Bank, with at least 11 Palestinians killed and hundreds injured. Israeli forces used teargas, rubber bullets and live fire, as Palestinians threw petrol bombs.
The clashes over the past five days mark some of the worst violence in the region in yearsThe clashes over the past five days mark some of the worst violence in the region in years
Saturday is the day when Palestinians commemorate what they call al-Nakba, the Catastrophe. It marks the day after the anniversary of Israel's independence in 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled their homes or were displaced. Saturday is the day when Palestinians commemorate what they call al-Nakba, the Catastrophe. It marks the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were forced or driven from their homes in the Arab-Israeli war which began the day after Israel's declaration of independence in 1948.
The prospect for more trouble on Saturday is very real, BBC diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams says.The prospect for more trouble on Saturday is very real, BBC diplomatic correspondent Paul Adams says.
What is the latest on the fighting?
Ten people died in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, with seven killed by an Israeli air strike at a refugee camp west of Gaza City, sources told the BBC.
A five-month-old baby is said to be the only survivor of that strike, found trapped in the rubble next to his dead mother. A number of people were also reported missing.
Israel's Iron Dome missile shield
"We are still trying to recover more bodies and trying to understand who is who," Nabil Abu al-Reesh, a doctor, was quoted as saying by al-Jazeera. "This is truly a massacre that we cannot describe in words."
An estimated 10,000 Palestinians have left their homes in Gaza since Monday because of the conflict, according to the UN.
Israeli officials reported about 200 rocket launches from Gaza overnight, with direct hits on apartments in the cities of Ashdod and Beersheba.
In Beersheba, 19 people were taken to hospital after getting slightly hurt while running to shelters, and three suffered from shock, The Times of Israel reports.
Israel has said a ground offensive in Gaza is one option being considered but a decision has yet to be made.
What is the US envoy seeking to achieve?What is the US envoy seeking to achieve?
Mr Amr's arrival comes ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on Sunday. The US embassy in Israel said the aim of his trip was to "reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm".Mr Amr's arrival comes ahead of a UN Security Council meeting on Sunday. The US embassy in Israel said the aim of his trip was to "reinforce the need to work toward a sustainable calm".
But appeals to Israeli and Palestinian leaders have so far failed to produce a ceasefire agreement. US President Joe Biden's administration has had to rapidly step up its game on the diplomatic front without a full team in place: there is not even a nominee yet for ambassador to Israel.
Israel's air strikes on Hamas in Gaza have forced the Middle East on to US President Joe Biden's agenda. His administration has had to rapidly step up its game on the diplomatic front without a full team in place: there is not even a nominee yet for ambassador to Israel. BBC producer Adnan Elbursh was broadcasting live from Gaza City when a building behind him was hit on Wednesday
Mr Amr is a mid-level diplomat without the kind of rank held by special envoys in previous US administrations, the BBC's Barbara Plett Usher says.Mr Amr is a mid-level diplomat without the kind of rank held by special envoys in previous US administrations, the BBC's Barbara Plett Usher says.
BBC reporters are on the ground in Gaza, Lod and Jerusalem Martin Indyk, who served as US ambassador to Israel during the Clinton administration, believes there is a good chance the fighting will cease soon.
On Thursday, Israel's military called up 7,000 army reservists and deployed troops and tanks near its border with Gaza. It said a ground offensive in Gaza was one option being considered but a decision had yet to be made. "I think that both sides have limited objectives and they're essentially reaching the point where it doesn't make sense, for either Hamas or [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu, to continue this war," he told BBC News.
An estimated 10,000 Palestinians have left their homes in Gaza since Monday because of the conflict, according to the UN. But veteran Palestinian politician Hanan Ashrawi says she does not hold much hope that Mr Amr's involvement will lead to a stop in the fighting.
"Biden waited for a whole week before he sent a third, fourth-level, not even a third, fourth-level civil servant and you think the Israelis are going to listen?" she told the BBC.
"The Americans delayed the Security Council meetings. I think this is a sort of pro forma thing. If they really mean business then they can, at the highest level, come out and say 'stop the shelling, stop the killing'."
Both sides need to be able to say they've wonBoth sides need to be able to say they've won
The end games in the wars between Hamas and Israel have followed a pattern since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.The end games in the wars between Hamas and Israel have followed a pattern since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.
Foreign mediators have thrashed out a variety of ceasefires. That's what the Americans, Egyptians, the UN and others are trying to do now.Foreign mediators have thrashed out a variety of ceasefires. That's what the Americans, Egyptians, the UN and others are trying to do now.
For that to work, both sides need to be able to tell their people they've won.For that to work, both sides need to be able to tell their people they've won.
Hamas will want to say that it is the real protector of Palestinian rights, not just in Gaza but also in the occupied West Bank including Jerusalem.Hamas will want to say that it is the real protector of Palestinian rights, not just in Gaza but also in the occupied West Bank including Jerusalem.
Israel will want to show its people that it has done serious damage to the Hamas infrastructure. A much used phrase is "restore deterrence". That means showing their enemies that hitting Israel will only bring pain and suffering.Israel will want to show its people that it has done serious damage to the Hamas infrastructure. A much used phrase is "restore deterrence". That means showing their enemies that hitting Israel will only bring pain and suffering.
Both sides will struggle to find words for bereaved families or traumatised children.Both sides will struggle to find words for bereaved families or traumatised children.
What is the latest on the fighting?
Ten people died in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, with seven killed by an Israeli air strike at a refugee camp west of Gaza City, sources told the BBC.
A five-month-old baby is said to be the only survivor of that strike, found trapped in the rubble next to his dead mother. A number of people were also reported missing.
Israeli officials reported about 200 rocket launches from Gaza overnight, with direct hits on apartments in the cities of Ashdod and Beersheba, but no casualties.
What caused the violence?What caused the violence?
The fighting between Israel and Hamas was triggered by days of escalating clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at a holy hilltop compound in East Jerusalem.The fighting between Israel and Hamas was triggered by days of escalating clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at a holy hilltop compound in East Jerusalem.
The Israel-Palestinian conflict explained
What makes Jerusalem so holy?
The site is revered by both Muslims, who call it the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and Jews, for whom it is known as the Temple Mount. Hamas demanded Israel remove police from there and the nearby predominantly Arab district of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families face eviction by Jewish settlers. Hamas launched rockets when its ultimatum went unheeded.The site is revered by both Muslims, who call it the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), and Jews, for whom it is known as the Temple Mount. Hamas demanded Israel remove police from there and the nearby predominantly Arab district of Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families face eviction by Jewish settlers. Hamas launched rockets when its ultimatum went unheeded.
Palestinian anger had already been stoked by weeks of rising tension in East Jerusalem, inflamed by a series of confrontations with police since the start of Ramadan in mid-April.Palestinian anger had already been stoked by weeks of rising tension in East Jerusalem, inflamed by a series of confrontations with police since the start of Ramadan in mid-April.
It was further fuelled by Israel's annual celebration of its capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, known as Jerusalem Day.It was further fuelled by Israel's annual celebration of its capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East war, known as Jerusalem Day.
The fate of the city, with its deep religious and national significance to both sides, lies at the heart of the decades-old Israel-Palestinian conflict. Israel in effect annexed East Jerusalem in 1980 and considers the entire city its capital, though this is not recognised by the vast majority of other countries.The fate of the city, with its deep religious and national significance to both sides, lies at the heart of the decades-old Israel-Palestinian conflict. Israel in effect annexed East Jerusalem in 1980 and considers the entire city its capital, though this is not recognised by the vast majority of other countries.
Palestinians claim the eastern half of Jerusalem as the capital of a hoped-for state of their own.Palestinians claim the eastern half of Jerusalem as the capital of a hoped-for state of their own.