ISRAELI and Palestinian negotiators at the Gaza truce talks hardened their positions today as a midnight ceasefire deadline approached.
Both sides appeared reluctant to return to the all-out fighting that has destroyed large parts of the densely populated coastal strip.
But after Palestinian and Israeli delegations resumed the talks, gaps between the two sides remained wide and there was no sign of agreement.
In Gaza, the Palestinian Health Authority said that the death toll from the Israeli attack on Gaza rose above 2,000 yesterday as more people injured in over a month of fighting with the Israelis succumbed to their wounds.
A total of 2,016 Palestinians have now been killed and 10,196 wounded.
Meanwhile, Israeli troops demolished the homes of three Palestinians suspected to have been involved in the murder of three Israeli teenage settlers.
Those deaths led to a series of Israeli state and civilian reprisals and ultimately the current conflict.
The Israel Defence Forces blew up the house of Hussam Qawasmi and demolished the home of Amer Abu Eish.
The house of third suspect Marwan Qawasme, which was partially demolished in July, was filled with concrete.
In a show of international solidarity, Norwegian Foreign Minister Boerge Brende said Norway and Egypt would co-host a donor conference for the reconstruction of Gaza.
Donor countries want Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “to be the recipient of the aid,” he said, adding that it was “his unity government of technocrats that must handle the reconstruction.”
Mr Brende said conditions in Gaza must change, so that “both people and goods can cross the borders.”