Hamas Agrees To 24-Hour Cease-Fire, Isreal Rejects Cease-Fire As Both Sides Continue To Exchange Fire

Israeli man gaza border An Israeli soldier prays near the border with Gaza July 27, 2014. A humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip collapsed on Sunday after a barrage of rockets fired by Palestinian militants was met with fierce Israeli shelling, in a fresh setback to efforts to secure a permanent cease-fire.

After denying Israel’s request to extend Saturday’s 12-hour cease-fire, Hamas and other factions in Gaza had accepted a new, 24-hour truce that would have put fighting at a halt until 2 p.m. local time on Monday. But as rockets continued to fly into Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he rejected the truce because Hamas had already violated it.

"Hamas doesn't even accept its own ceasefire, it's continuing to fire at us as we speak," he said on CNN's State of the Union. He added that the Egyptian cease-fire proposal was "the only game in town," for Israel. United Nations envoy Robert Serry negotiated the failed attempt at a cease-fire with Hamas and presented the request to Israeli officials on Sunday. The negotiations were aimed at a pause that would come just in time for Eid, the celebration at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

"In response to the UN intervention and considering the situation of our people and the occasion of Eid, it has been agreed among resistance factions to endorse a 24-hour humanitarian calm, starting from 2pm on Sunday," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters.

Originally, Hamas had agreed to commence the break at 2 p.m. local time on Sunday but Israeli media reported rocket alarms and mortar shell hits about 15 minutes after that.

Earlier this week, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said the group would not accept any cease-fire proposal that didn’t include an end to the Israeli blockade. He was speaking in reference to the same Egyptian-brokered deal that Netanyahu said Israel is considering. Since 2006, the Gaza strip has been under a land, sea and air blockade, prompting them to dig tunnels into neighboring countries. The humanitarian cease-fire, however, was agreed to without those conditions and is meant to allow residents in Gaza to celebrate Eid in their homes and stock up on food, water and medical supplies.

"Any humanitarian cease-fire that does not include the withdrawal of the occupation soldiers from Gaza borders and allowing citizens to return to their homes and evacuate casualties is unacceptable," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told CNN.

There have been at least two humanitarian cease-fires since fighting began on July 8 with no permanent peace agreement reached.

"I want to emphasize that a humanitarian pause is no substitute for a doable and long-term cease-fire that will tackle all the underlying issues,” Serry said. “I hope that both parties will take advantage of the pause to start negotiating. We will not be able to continue extending the humanitarian pauses much longer."

Since fighting resumed Saturday night in Israel and Gaza, Al-Jazeera reported that 11 Palestinians have died, bringing the current death toll to 1,061 since Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” began 20 days ago to eliminate Hamas’ "terror tunnels."

 Israel Defense Forces spokesman Lt. Col Peter Lerner told CNN on Sunday the troops are "about halfway through" their mission.

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