Israel intercepts second medical supply boat for Gaza

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Husam Badran, a member of the "Hamas" politburo, offered Sunday assurances that the movement would not agree to establish a state in Gaza and would not reach any political arrangement without Palestinian national consensus. That appears not to be sitting well with some officials, and as soon as Hamas' acceptance was announced, some Israelis were already complaining about the proposal to hold talks with Hamas on returning bodies of slain soldiers, insisting the returns should be a precondition to anything else.

"The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) clarified to the ship´s passengers that they are violating the legal naval blockade and that any humanitarian merchandise can be transferred to Gaza through the (Israeli) Port of Ashdod", an Israeli military statement said.

A truck parks next to a security barrier inside the Kerem Shalom border crossing terminal between Israel and Gaza Strip January 16, 2018.

A Hamas official said that the Islamist group "will not accept handouts at the expense of a political solution" and added that Hamas giving up its armed wing is "non-negotiable".

Israel withdrew its troops and settlers from Gaza in 2005, but maintains tight control of its land and sea borders.

The Israeli statement came hours before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu convened his security cabinet to discuss, and possibly approve United Nations - and Egyptian-brokered ideas for preventing another threatened Gaza war.

The PA, which has placed several economic sanctions on Gaza in an attempt to pressure Hamas, is no expected to play a major role in the Strip's hoped-for development projects that will reportedly be funded by cash from Washington, Brussels and wealthy Gulf states.

But Egyptian officials have privately voiced worry about Israeli calls for them to be more involved in Gaza, proposals that they think may dovetail with the Trump administration's efforts to address Palestinian grievances with pan-Arab help.

But after a meeting of the representatives of Palestinian factions, including Fatah, Badran said, "There will be no state in Gaza and no state without Gaza".

Al-Ayyam said that according to emails obtained by the US-based Foreign Policy journal, Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor, seeks to push to close UNRWA and end the Palestinian refugee status. It is 50 metres wide and a six-metre high steel fence is placed next to it facing the Gaza side which will have surveillance devices placed on it.

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