Israel Downplays Chance of Permanent Gaza Ceasefire Deal With Hamas

Must Be OK'd by Cabinet — Terror Tunnel Try Thwarted

Pray for Peace: Israeli soldier prays as brief truce goes into effect in Gaza. Talks have reached agreement on a permanent ceasefire deal, but both Hamas and Israel must formally approve it.
getty images
Pray for Peace: Israeli soldier prays as brief truce goes into effect in Gaza. Talks have reached agreement on a permanent ceasefire deal, but both Hamas and Israel must formally approve it.

By Reuters

Published July 17, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Israeli leaders on Thursday played down prospects of a permanent Gaza ceasefire and fighting returned to a familiar pattern of Palestinian rocket salvoes and Israeli bombing after a five-hour humanitarian truce.

An Israeli official said earlier that senior Israeli negotiators in Cairo had approved a full truce, but a final decision lay with the security cabinet.

But Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who has been advocating a move into Gaza to stop rockets being fired on Israel, said: “We are not familiar with the matter.”

A Hamas spokesman also denied initial comments by the Israeli official that a full truce was slated to start at 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Friday.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s hawkish economy minister, said time was running out for Hamas, the Islamist group dominant in Gaza.

“We are moving from Iron Dome to an iron fist,” Naftali said, referring to an anti-missile system that has intercepted many of the rockets in 10 days of warfare.

With large contingents of Israeli infantry and tanks deployed near the Gaza border, Bennett, a member of the decision-making security cabinet, appeared to amplify Israeli threats of a ground invasion of the densely-populated enclave.

“I want to wish good luck to the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers. With the IDF’s help, and God’s help, we will win,” he told reporters in the southern city of Ashkelon, a frequent target of rocket strikes.

Sirens sounded in southern Israel at the end of the five-hour ceasefire requested by the United Nations.

The military said rockets headed toward Tel Aviv, the southern city of Beersheba and Ashkelon. There were no reports of casualties or damage.

Israeli aircraft bombed a house in Gaza City, killing three children, and another two youngsters died in separate attacks, said Ashraf Al-Qidra, spokesman of the Gaza health ministry. The Palestinian death toll rose to 229, mostly civilians, according to the ministry.

In Israel, one civilian has been killed by fire from Gaza, where the Israeli military says more than 1,300 rockets have been launched into the Jewish state. The salvoes have made a race to shelters a daily routine for hundreds of thousands of people.

Hours before the humanitarian ceasefire began, about a dozen Palestinian fighters tunneled under the border, emerging near an Israeli community. At least one was killed when Israeli aircraft bombed the group, the military said.

CEASEFIRE EFFORTS

President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he supported Egyptian efforts to agree a ceasefire that would end the worst flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian hostilities in two years. U.S. officials would use their diplomatic resources over the next 24 hours to pursue closing a deal, he said.

Egypt had proposed a permanent ceasefire plan on Tuesday, which Israel accepted. But Hamas, saying its terms had been ignored, rejected it.

Hamas wants Israel and Egypt, whose military-backed government is at odds with the Islamist group, to lift border restrictions that have deepened economic hardship among Gaza’s 1.8 million populace and caused a cash crunch in the movement, which has been unable to pay its employees for months.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said it had discovered on Wednesday some 20 rockets hidden in an empty Gaza school.

“UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations. This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law,” an UNRWA statement said.

Israel has long accused Palestinian militants of storing weapons in civilian facilities and using Gaza residents as human shields by launching rockets from residential areas.

On Wednesday, an Israeli gunboat off Gaza’s Mediterranean coast shelled a beach, killing four boys - two aged 10 and the others 9 and 11 - from one family and critically wounding another youngster, witnesses and Ashraf al-Qidra of the Gaza Health Ministry said.

The Israeli military said the reported civilian casualties were unintended and tragic and it was investigating what happened. “Based on preliminary results, the target of this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives,” it said in a statement.

The current conflict was largely triggered by the killing of three Israeli teens in the occupied West Bank last month and the death on July 2 of a Palestinian youth in a suspected revenge murder.

Israel indicted on Thursday three Israelis suspected of having killed the 16-year-old Palestinian in Jerusalem. A lawyer for a legal aide group representing the adult and two minors said they would enter a plea at a later date.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • When YA romance becomes "Hasidsploitation":
  • "I am wrapping up the summer with a beach vacation with my non-Jewish in-laws. They’re good people and real leftists who try to live the values they preach. This was a quality I admired, until the latest war in Gaza. Now they are adamant that American Jews need to take more responsibility for the deaths in Gaza. They are educated people who understand the political complexity, but I don’t think they get the emotional complexity of being an American Jew who is capable of criticizing Israel but still feels a deep connection to it. How can I get this across to them?"
  • “'I made a new friend,' my son told his grandfather later that day. 'I don’t know her name, but she was very nice. We met on the bus.' Welcome to Israel."
  • A Jewish female sword swallower. It's as cool as it sounds (and looks)!
  • Why did David Menachem Gordon join the IDF? In his own words: "The Israel Defense Forces is an army that fights for her nation’s survival and the absence of its warriors equals destruction from numerous regional foes. America is not quite under the threat of total annihilation… Simply put, I felt I was needed more in Israel than in the United States."
  • Leonard Fein's most enduring legacy may be his rejection of dualism: the idea that Jews must choose between assertiveness and compassion, between tribalism and universalism. Steven M. Cohen remembers a great Jewish progressive:
  • BREAKING: Missing lone soldier David Menachem Gordon has been found dead in central Israel. The Ohio native was 21 years old.
  • “They think they can slap on an Amish hat and a long black robe, and they’ve created a Hasid." What do you think of Hollywood's portrayal of Hasidic Jews?
  • “I’ve been doing this since I was a teenager. I didn’t think I would have to do it when I was 90.” Hedy Epstein fled Nazi Germany in 1933 on a Kinderstransport.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.