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Still no ceasefire agreement as Israel rejects Kerry proposal

Amid intensive efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli cabinet rejected the latest U.S. proposal, yet agreed to a 12-hour suspension of fighting.

Mourners carry the body of killed Palestinian Mohammed al-Araj during his funeral at the Qalandiya Palestinian refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 25, 2014, after he was shot and killed the night before during clashes with the Israeli army amid a massive protest in the West Bank against the Israeli attack on the Gaza strip. (photo: Activestills)

Mourners carry the body of killed Palestinian Mohammed al-Araj during his funeral at the Qalandiya Palestinian refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on July 25, 2014, after he was shot and killed the night before during clashes with the Israeli army amid a massive protest in the West Bank against the Israeli attack on the Gaza strip. (photo: Activestills)

In a press conference in Cairo with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry stated that further efforts were needed to get all parties to agree on the terms of a ceasefire agreement after Israel rejected the proposal. He added that he was confident an agreement would be reached, though more effort was needed to work through issues of terminology in the proposal.

Kerry did, however, get Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu to agree to a 12-hour pause in its military operation in Gaza. Haaretz reported that Kerry was “working towards a brief, seven-day humanitarian ceasefire to try to create a more durable, sustainable ceasefire.”

According to Reuters, France will host an international meeting on Saturday in order to rapidly work toward a ceasefire agreement. Representatives from the U.S., Britain, Germany, Italy, the EU, Turkey and Qatar are said to be attending the talks in Paris.

After 18 days of fighting, the bombardment of the Gaza Strip by Israeli forces continued throughout Friday. The Palestinian death toll approached 850 Friday evening, with the majority of casualties being civilians.

An Israeli tank is seen before entering the Gaza Strip near Israel's border with the Gaza strip on July 24, 2014. (photo: Activestills)

An Israeli tank is seen before entering the Gaza Strip near Israel’s border with the Gaza strip on July 24, 2014. (photo: Activestills)

Israel announced the death of another soldier, bringing the total number of Israeli soldiers killed in Operation Protective Edge to 35. 

The army determined that Sgt. Oron Shaul, who was previously considered missing, was in fact killed in the Shejaiyah assault on Sunday. Six other Golani troops were also killed in that attack. Hamas had said that Shaul was captured in action.

Despite ongoing ceasefire talks, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon reportedly told soldiers to be prepared for the possibility that the army will be ordered to expand its Gaza ground operation “very soon.”

According to Haaretz, Hamas militants attempted to kidnap an Israeli soldier by dragging him into a tunnel. The army responded by shelling the area of the tunnel, allowing the soldier to escape.

While in the West Bank tension engulfed the territory. Maan reported that seven Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in the last 24 hours amid solidarity protests with those in Gaza. An 18-year-old Palestinian reportedly killed when an Israeli settler drove by and opened fire at a protest march.

Air France announced it would lift its ban on flights to Israel late Friday after it halted flights earlier this week amid security concerns.

Related:
Israel has alternatives to this war
‘The largest West Bank protest in years’
What does Israeli ‘acceptance’ of ceasefire really mean?

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    1. Kolumn8

      There were several options that Kerry had. He could have allowed Israel to crush Hamas and then given it a face-saving gesture according to which it would hand its weapons and rockets over to the PA or to Egypt in the interests of Palestinian or Arab solidarity or whatever. He could have supported the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire that would leave Hamas with no gains.

      Instead Kerry has decided to rescue Hamas by accepting the Hamas demands (via Qatar) and thus handing it a victory that will allow it to rebuild its arsenal and to restart the fighting in a year or two. This is after the US government gave Hamas a massive achievement when it banned flights to Israel after a rocket fell near the airport.

      This is the government that insists that it has Israel’s back. This is the government that wanted to provide security “guarantees” to Israel in return for Israel withdrawing from the West Bank as a result of an agreement.

      Kerry go home. You are irrelevant.

      Reply to Comment
      • Reza Lustig

        I like how you basically admit that you’re upset Hamas didn’t accept Sisi’s terms, because they would’ve assured Gaza got diddly squat out of them in terms of concessions or gains.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn9

          I am upset that Kerry sides with Israel’s enemies. I don’t see any reason why Hamas should be rewarded for shooting rockets at Israeli cities.

          Reply to Comment