Palestinian Prime Minister attacked in Gaza

An explosion hit the Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s convoy as he visited Gaza this morning with Palestinian intelligence chief Majid Faraj.

According to initial reports, some 200 meters after the convoy entered Erez crossing the explosion went off, injuring several people nearby. Hamdallah is reportedly safe and attending his scheduled event to open a water treatment plant that the PA helped finance.. The PA has blamed Hamas for the explosion, which it said deliberately targeted Hamdallah.

The attack coincides with a high profile White House “brainstorming session” to discuss proposals for improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza.

The meeting, which was initiated by Jared Kushner and US special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, will be attended by staff from the State Department, National Security Council, US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), as well as representatives from the international community including Israel and several Arab countries. The White House said Greenblatt and Kushner will present specific proposals to help the people of Gaza.

The PA refused an invitation to participate in the meeting. Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani told Voice of Palestine Radio on Saturday that the US is trying to undermine the PA and said there was no need for a meeting because Gaza “is a political issue and not a humanitarian one”.

Greenblatt said yesterday that: “Solving the situation in Gaza is vital for humanitarian reasons, important for the security of Egypt and Israel and is a necessary step toward reaching a comprehensive peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, including Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank.”