Gaza’s Hamas rulers say their indirect cease-fire talks with Israel have halted.
Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri on Sunday blamed the impasse on the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, which has voiced its strong opposition to the talks.
Abu Zuhri said that in response, his Islamic militant group is escalating its protests in new locations along Gaza’s borders with Israel.
Hamas has led weekly protests since March, demanding in large part an end to the decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has crippled Gaza since Hamas assumed control of the coastal strip.
Israeli military fire has killed 135 Palestinians at the protests and wounded thousands. An Israeli soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper last month.
Egypt and the United Nations have been working to mediate to avoid another large-scale round of violence.
Additionally, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has denied U.S. claims the Palestinians have refused to enter peace talks with Israel.
Abbas’ denial came after talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron Friday. Abbas asked Macron to pass the message onto U.S. President Donald Trump.
U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton said earlier this month that the Palestinian de facto embassy in Washington was being shut because the PLO hadn’t taken steps toward negotiations.
Abbas said “we didn’t reject negotiations as the Israelis claim,” adding that the Palestinian side is “ready for any confidential or public talks.”
Abbas also said “the Europeans are working seriously to substitute and fill the American (funding) gap” after the Trump administration canceled over $200 million in aid for Palestinian projects.