06/27/2008, 00.00
ISRAEL - PALESTINE
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Palestinians and Israelis violate ceasefire, but do not break it

Two mortar rounds were fired today from the Gaza Strip, while Jerusalem is keeping the border crossings closed, but is permitting the passage of a little bit of fuel. Fayyad: the closing "is actually producing a situation where you have 1.5 million of our people who live there with a sense of not much to lose".

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - Two mortar rounds fired from the Gaza Strip struck the Israeli Negev, without causing any damage.  It is the second violation of the ceasefire by the Palestinians, after the launching of three Qassam rockets two days earlier.  The Jewish state is responding with the closing of border crossings - which, according to the agreement, are supposed to be reopened - and the consequent but not total blockade of supplies for the Strip.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade has claimed responsibility for today's attack, while Jihad claimed responsibility for the one few days ago.  Both of the movements make reference to the terms of the ceasefire, which concerns only the Strip, and is not extended to the West Bank, as they would like.

In spite of the violations, both sides seem determined to carry the ceasefire forward.  Yesterday, the Israeli government, during a meeting dedicated to security, decided to keep the border crossings closed, but the same time to let through a limited quantity of fuel.  At the same time, a government representative, Ofer Dekel, is in Egypt to discuss the last part of the ceasefire agreement, which concerns the exchange of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for the Israeli soldier  Gilad Shalit, kidnapped two years ago by members of Hamas.  Similar negotiations are moving forward with Hezbollah in order to recover two other soldiers kidnapped in Lebanon.  The conditions posed by the Party of God will be examined on Sunday by the Israeli government.

The need to preserve the ceasefire with Hamas and reopen the border crossings has been defended, in the meantime, by Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad, according to whom the closure "must end", in that it "is actually producing a situation where you have 1.5 million of our people who live there with a sense of not much to lose".

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