[JURIST] Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi [BBC backgrounder] announced Saturday that peace talks are progressing toward a ceasefire in the recent escalation of violence in Gaza [JURIST news archive] and Southern Israel. Mursi invited the Quatari emir, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan [official profile, in Turkish] and former Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal to Cairo for ceasefire discussions after the recent violence broke the informal truce brokered by Egypt [Reuters report] between Israel and Hamas in October. After rocket attacks by Palestinian militants into Israel this week, violence began to escalate on Wednesday with the killing of Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari [Huffington Post backgrounder] in a targeted air strike [NYT report] by Israel Defense Forces. The next day Palestinian forces responded with rocket fire [Reuters report] aimed at multiple Israeli cities and towns. 45 Palestinians and three Israelis [NYTimes report] have been killed and hundreds more have been injured.
UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] on Friday called for a ceasefire [JURIST report] by both sides involved in the conflict, expressing concern over both the Palestinian rocket fire that took place over the past week as well as the resulting aerial attacks by Israel. In August Amnesty International [advocacy website] called on Israel [JURIST report] to investigate its treatment of Palestinian detainees, alleging that two had been mistreated. In June the UN also urged Israel to end its blockade [JURIST report] of the Gaza Strip, alleging that it was violating international law. In February, Human Rights Watch [advocacy website] also urged Israel to end residency restriction policies that prevent Palestinians from travelling through and living in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.