Flaming Gaza balloons lit fires in the south on Thursday and threatened to break the fragile informal ceasefire between Israel and Hamas prior to the expected border riots on Friday.
Under the terms of the ceasefire that are thought to be at stake between the IDF and Hamas, the weekly Gaza border riots must remain peaceful.
The organizers of the protests, known as the & # 39; March of Return & # 39;, called on the Palestinians to continue the weekly protests at the border, including this Friday.
The protests will be held under the flag of "Compassion and Solidarity," the March for Return Commission and Breaking the Siege – which is responsible for the protests – said in a statement.
Dozens of fires broke out in the south after fire bombs were launched from the Gaza Strip, a situation worse by the extreme heat wave that hit the country. Fires raged in the Sha & aranegev region and near Sderot, Be & eri and Nahal Oz.
Palestinian media reported that the Sons of Zouari group admitted having launched hundreds of hundreds of arson balloons.
Sons of Zouari – referring to Hamas & # 39; most important drone expert and engineer Muhammad Zouari, who was murdered in Tunisia in 2016 – launched thousands of fire-hazardous devices in Israel last year.
In the early months of the & # 39; March of Return clashes & # 39; the group undertook to extend the range of its Molotov cocktails in the air to 40 km. from the Gaza Strip.
Special UN envoy Jason Greenblatt, who spoke in New York on Wednesday, told the UN Security Council that Hamas and the Islamic Jihad should be pressured to maintain peace with Israel after burning balloons previously launched from Gaza 11 fires caused in southern Israel.
In response to those balloons, Israel limited Gaza's fishing zone to 10 nautical miles, one day after expansion to 15 nautical miles. A fishing zone of 15 nautical miles is assumed to be a condition for the informal stock. Both Israel and Hamas have submitted reports of such an informal file.
"We must all speak loudly and clearly and say that these attacks on Israel, committed by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, either by rockets, burning balloons or other methods, must end," Greenblatt told the UNSC.
He called on the council to declare Hamas a terrorist group because of its actions against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Greenblatt blamed Hamas and PIJ for continuing to use civilians in Gaza, including children, as human shields, and for transferring "the scarce resources of the Gaza people to build their terror arsenal, while preventing donor aid from Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad are to blame for the suffering of the people of Gaza. & # 39;
Greenblatt spoke about the Middle East during the monthly debate of the UN Security Council. He noted that "both Hamas and the Islamic Jihad are targeting Israeli communities, including hospitals and schools, in a cynical attempt to extract concessions from Israel. Nothing can be meaningfully established until they abandon terror and their acts of violence and their acts of violence. vow to destroy Israel. When will the Security Council say this out loud? When will we clearly reject this terrorism? "
The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, who said that the UN and Egypt are working with all parties to ensure that calm is maintained, was also addressed to the Security Council.
"While the situation has now stabilized, it remains very tense," Mladenov said. "One thing is clear: these dangerous cycles of escalation and de-escalation will not be sustainable in the future."
Mladenov "strongly condemned the launch of missiles from Gaza to Israel, in particular targeting civilian population centers," and also called on Israel to "exercise maximum restraint and refrain from killing violence against demonstrators, except as a last resort. "
Mladenov urged both Israel and Hamas to take steps to relieve tensions, solidify peace and commit to the understanding that has been established over the past few months.
"UN and Egyptian teams will continue to work intensively with all parties to seize the opportunity to help the people of Gaza and further reduce the risk of conflict," Mladenov said.
The international community, he said, has been working on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, mobilizing $ 112 million to increase electricity produced by the Gaza plant, to create temporary jobs and for health services.
In May, Qatar promised $ 480 million. of which $ 180m. is for Gaza, $ 250 million. is for loans to the Palestinian government in the West Bank, and $ 50 million. is for scholarships for projects in the West Bank.
Part of the funding allows the UN to provide fuel to increase Gaza's electricity supply by the end of the year, Mladenov said.
As for the West Bank, the UN Special Coordinator said that for the third consecutive month the Palestinian Authority has refused to accept the tax revenues that Israel has sent. The PA has refused the money to protest against Israel's decision to withhold the monthly payments that the PA pays to terrorists and their relatives.
Without those resources, Mladenov said, the survival of the PA remains in danger.
"Both parties must implement their bilateral agreements and prevent them from taking unilateral actions that undermine the stability of the Palestinian Authority," he said. "We must ask ourselves: how many years will the Palestinians in Gaza be forced to live on a pittance of the international community, under the control of Hamas, and suffer from Israeli closures? How many years will Israelis be forced? to run to shelters like rockets launched by Palestinian militants in Gaza and rain without distinction from above? "
Mladenov also nodded toward the US economic workshop on behalf of the Palestinians scheduled for next month in Bahrain, but said such steps were limited without a political solution.
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