Palestinians Await Israel Response After Accepting 72-Hour Cease-Fire

Gaza Crisis
Palestinian negotiators accepted an Egypt-back 72-hour cease-fire. Israel said it would not discuss a truce unless rocket fire and mortars from militants cease.

Update 1:15 p.m. EDT: The Wall Street Journal reports Israel has agreed to the 72-hour cease-fire.

Original report:

Palestinians have accepted a proposed 72-hour cease-fire brokered by Egypt Sunday. Israel has not discussed a proposed truce since leaving negotiations following the latest round of rocket fire from Gaza, the Associated Press reported. Israel said Palestinians must stop rocket fire and shelling before it would discuss a cease-fire, Reuters reported.

"Israel will not negotiate under fire," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet. Palestinians accepted the cease-fire as a way to renew discussions that could lead to a long-term truce.

"We cannot have an agreement without talks, so we accepted an Egyptian proposal to have a cease-fire for 72 hours in order to resume the talks," a Palestinian negotiator said under the condition of anonymity to the AP. Hamas wants the Israeli blockade to end but Israel has refused this request because of fears militants will import weapons or use construction supplies to build new "terror tunnels."

A 72-hour cease-fire, brokered Tuesday, expired Friday with no agreement to extend the truce or a deal for a long-term end to the recent conflict. Following the end of the cease-fire, Hamas militants fired rockets from Gaza, which led to a new round of Israeli airstrikes. The fighting continued during the weekend, with 10 Palestinians killed Saturday and three Sunday, Reuters reported.

"The operation will continue until its objective -- the restoration of quiet over a protracted period -- is achieved," Netanyahu said. While fighting has continued in Gaza, Reuters reported attacks have been reduced dramatically and Israeli troops have yet to return to Gaza. More than 1,900 Palestinians have been killed along with 67 Israelis in the month-long conflict.

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