Violence Welcomes Israel-Palestinian Talks

Signs of renewed violence at the Israel-Gaza border greeted the continuation of renewed talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders on Wednesday, with at least one person reportedly killed.

Israeli aircraft bombed a smuggling tunnel near Gaza’s border with Egypt on Wednesday, killing a Palestinian and wounding four others, according to Hamas, which controls the area where the attack presumably took place. The airstrike came after at least eight mortar shells and a rocket were fired from Gaza into Israel.

Despite the escalation of violence, talks being held in Jerusalem continued with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton declaring that Israeli and Palestinian leaders were “getting down to business.” “I believe they are serious about reaching an agreement that results in two states living side by side in peace and security,” Clinton said.

However, it is not clear whether one of the most contentious issues in the talks–Israel’s West Bank settlements–has already been discussed. Earlier, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned that he would back out of the talks if Israel re-starts the construction at the end of the month, when a 10-month suspension will have expired. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that he is willing to compromise, but he has yet to categorically say whether the settlements will continue or not.