Israel Accepts Egypt's Cease-Fire Proposal To End Hostilities In Gaza

  • Israel Gaza Conflict_Ashdod_July14
    A stuffed toy lies at the scene after a rocket fired by Palestinian militants in Gaza landed in Ashdod on July 14, 2014. Israel launched a military offensive on Hamas-controlled Gaza last week, saying it was in response to an increase of rocket attacks from the territory. Reuters/Amir Cohen
  • Israel Gaza Conflict_Rafah_July14
    A Palestinian man, who according to a family member fled his home after being warned by Israel of an impending air strike on his house, sleeps as he stays at a United Nations-run school in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on July 14, 2014. Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa
  • eilat
    Four were injured Monday in a rocket attack on Eilat, the Israeli military said. (Israel Defense Forces via Twitter)
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Update 2:18 a.m. EDT: Israel on Tuesday agreed to a cease-fire being brokered by Egypt to de-escalate violence in the region that has killed nearly 190 people since last week, but Hamas, which rejected the truce earlier, has reportedly not changed its stance.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabinet met in an early morning meeting to discuss the truce and to put an end to the violence that followed its Operation Protective Edge, which was launched last Tuesday. The ceasefire from Israel's side went into effect at 9:00 a.m. local time.

As part of the cease-fire agreement, Egypt has called for the opening of the border crossings in Gaza as well as for two days of talks between Israel and Hamas. Egypt also wants an “unconditional acceptance” of the cease-fire from both sides within the next 12 hours, according to Associated Press.

"We are encouraged that Egypt has made a proposal to accomplish this goal that we hope can restore the calm that we are seeking," U.S. President Barack Obama said late Monday at the White House, according to The Guardian. "The pictures that we are seeing in Gaza and in Israel are heart-wrenching."

However, according to a BBC report, Hamas sources have reportedly said that its attacks will "increase in ferocity and intensity" until Israel sets prisoners free works with Egypt to lift economic sanctions on Gaza.

Update 11:20 p.m. EDT: The armed wing of Hamas has rejected the Egyptian cease-fire proposal as "surrender," AFP reports.

Original story:

Egypt has proposed a cease-fire to begin at 9 a.m., local time, Tuesday, ending hostilities between Hamas and Israel. The proposal came Monday night, on the eve of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's scheduled arrival in Cairo.

The Jerusalem Post said the Egyptian proposal calls on Israel not to open a ground offensive targeting civilians in Gaza and for an end to all hostilities from land, sea and air by both sides.

The proposal also calls for a reopening of border crossings once the situation stabilizes and seeks talks in Cairo within 48 hours after the cease-fire goes into effect on "confidence-building measures," the Post said. Egypt said it would shuttle between the two sides to facilitate the talks.

The Israeli Security Cabinet was scheduled to meet early Tuesday to discuss the proposal. A spokesman for Hamas said certain conditions would have to be met before it accepts the Egyptian proposal.

At least 173 Palestinians have died since hostilities flared last week following the funeral of a Palestinian teenager who was burned to death by Israeli right-wingers in retaliation for the kidnap-murder of three Israeli teenagers on the West Bank. Israeli airstrikes began after Hamas began firing barrages of rockets not only at southern Israel but at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Israel said a temporary end to hostilities would not be acceptable. It wants a longer-term peace arrangement.

The Times of Israel reported Israel is demanding that all rockets be removed from Gaza and smuggling tunnels be shut down. Hamas has demanded the release of 56 prisoners released in 2011 but rearrested in the West Bank after the abduction of the three Israeli teenagers.

“Talk of a cease-fire requires real and serious efforts, which we haven’t seen so far,” Hamas legislator Mushir al-Masri told Agence France-Presse. “Any cease-fire must be based on the conditions we have outlined; nothing less than that will be accepted.”

The Israeli military said it has destroyed about a third of Hamas' rockets and half of its rocket-making facilities along with homes used as command-and-control centers.

A statement issued by the Egyptian Foreign Ministry urged "Israel and all Palestinian factions to immediately enforce a cease-fire, in view of the fact that escalation and mutual violence … is not in the interest of either party," the British newspaper the Guardian reported.

A Hamas official told AFP nothing had been finalized and called the Egyptian effort "weak."

Both Kerry and British Foreign Minister William Hague have urged both sides to return to the November 2012 cease-fire that ended the last round of fighting. Kerry called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hague called Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to discuss de-escalating the crisis.

 

 

 

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