Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 12-hour cease-fire
A humanitarian cease-fire lasting 12 hours could begin in Gaza on Saturday, as Hamas says it has agreed to a temporary peace and Israeli media are reporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also approved the plan. The truce would allow Palestinian civilians to get food and aid where it’s needed, officials say.
In Cairo, Secretary of State Kerry said Friday that his efforts to reach a week-long cease-fire in the Gaza Strip fell short. But as condemnation against the Israeli rejection of Kerry’s terms rose, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a 12-hour “humanitarian pause” in the fighting, to begin possibly as early as Saturday morning.
“There is a national (Palestinian) agreement on humanitarian ceasefire through the UN on Saturday” for 12 hours, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri posted on his Facebook page, according to NPR’s Emily Harris, who’s in Gaza. Citing a senior official, Israeli newspaper Haaretz says Netanyahu has told U.S. and U.N. officials that Israel will begin a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire.
Kerry had hoped to announce a temporary truce on Friday, envisaging a week-long cease-fire that would begin as the Muslim holiday of Eid begins over the weekend, and allow time for deeper negotiations that might address Israeli security concerns and loosen Israeli and Egyptian prohibitions on Gazans’ travel and trade.
Earlier Friday, Kerry rejected talk of Israel rejecting a U.S.-brokered truce as “mischief” from people who don’t want the hostilities to end. “They may have rejected some language or suggestion, but there was no formal proposal submitted by me on which a vote was ripe,” Kerry said.
According to the BBC, reports of Saturday’s 12-hour truce came “shortly after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that ground operations in Gaza could soon be broadened ‘significantly.’ ”
At least five demonstrators were killed in clashes with Israeli security forces on Friday, according reports from police, human rights groups and local news reports. Two Palestinians were killed in the village of Hawara, near the northern town of Nablus, when the protesters rioted. One died in clashes with police officers, who were acting in self-defense, added the police. It was unclear how the second Palestinian was killed. Read more about the story here.