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New moves by Saudi Arabia, Qatar signal drive for cease-fire

Regional capitals are seeing intense diplomatic activity, while regional powers and Washington agree on the need to end the war in Gaza as soon as possible.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks to reporters after meeting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 23, 2014. Israeli forces pounded Gaza on Wednesday, meeting stiff resistance from Hamas Islamists and sending thousands of residents fleeing, as Kerry said on his visit to Israel ceasefire talks had made some progress. Israel launched its offensive on July 8 to halt missile salvoes by Hamas and its allies, struggling under the weight of an Israeli-Egyptian economic
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While the Israeli army’s military operations against Gaza enter their third week, a diplomatic flurry is taking place in attempts to reach a cease-fire.

The most recent of these efforts was announced by Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on July 22 during a speech in Ramallah, in which he announced his visit to Egypt and the holding of talks among Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Abbas also traveled to Turkey and Qatar, where he met with the head of Hamas’ political bureau, Khaled Meshaal, in an attempt to reach a cease-fire.

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