Israel Rejects Kerry's Cease-Fire Proposal, Agrees To Twelve-Hour Humanitarian Truce

West Bank One Palestinian protester runs past a fire as others close the main road between Bethlehem and Hebron.

As the death toll climbed to at least 840 Palestinians and 35 Israeli soldiers, Israel and Hamas agreed Friday to a 12-hour cease-fire so that residents of Gaza could restock food, water and medical supplies. The cease-fire will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. 

Earlier Friday, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby spoke at a press conference in Cairo, calling for a seven-day humanitarian cease-fire for Eid, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan.

"We are calling for humanitarian cease-fire for Eid for seven days in hope this will prompt the parties to hear a call of conscience,” Shoukry said.

Israel rejected the seven-day truce but agreed to the 12-hour temporary break from clashes that Kerry called a "down payment,” to a longer cease-fire. He said he hopes it could be extended to one full day.

As for a permanent peace, Kerry said the leaders are not giving up. “We still have some terminology in the context of the framework to work through, but we are confident it will ultimately work.” He choose not to elaborate on any specific terminology. 

The news that Israel had already rejected the original proposal broke several hours before Friday’s press conference.

"Kerry's offer emphasized the benefits Hamas is seeking, more than it gave priority to our security demands," a senior Israeli security official told Haaretz. "Kerry's proposal was unacceptable."

On Wednesday, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said they would not accept any cease-fire proposal that did not end the blockade on Gaza, which means opening the Rafah crossing to Egypt.

"We cannot accept any proposal that does not include the lifting of the siege on Gazans," Meshaal said in a press conference in Doha, Al-Jazeera reported.

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