Egypt Offers Ceasefire Proposal

Israel, Hamas say they're considering it

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jul 14, 2014 6:06 PM CDT | Updated Jul 14, 2014 6:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Egypt presented a ceasefire plan today to end a week of heavy fighting between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip that has left at least 185 Palestinians dead, and both sides seem to be considering the proposal. The late-night offer by Egypt marked the first sign of a breakthrough in international efforts to end the conflict. Hamas' top leader in Gaza confirmed there was "diplomatic movement," but CNN reports that a Hamas spokesman said they never received the proposal and called it "a joke." Nonetheless, Israel's policy-making Security Cabinet was set to discuss the proposal early tomorrow. Arab foreign ministers discussed the plan tonight at an emergency meeting in Cairo, and US Secretary of State John Kerry was expected in the region tomorrow.

Israeli officials have said the goal of the military campaign is to restore quiet to Israel's south, which has absorbed hundreds of rocket strikes, and that any ceasefire would have to include guarantees of an extended period of calm. Hamas officials say they will not accept "calm for calm." The group is demanding an easing of an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has ground Gaza's economy to a standstill and that Israel release dozens of prisoners who were arrested in a recent West Bank crackdown. Egypt's Foreign Ministry announced its three-step plan starting with a temporary ceasefire to go into effect within 12 hours of "unconditional acceptance" by the two sides. That would be followed by the opening of Gaza's border crossings and talks in Cairo between the sides within two days, according to the statement. Click for more.

A right-wing Israeli holds a flag and wears a Star of David patch resembling the one Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany during a demonstration in Jerusalem, Monday, July 14, 2014.
A right-wing Israeli holds a flag and wears a Star of David patch resembling the one Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany during a demonstration in Jerusalem, Monday, July 14, 2014.   (Sebastian Scheiner)
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki listens to his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, during their meeting at the Egyptian foreign ministry in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 14, 2014.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki listens to his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry, during their meeting at the Egyptian foreign ministry in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 14, 2014.   (Amr Nabil)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, right, meets with his palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki at the Egyptian foreign ministry in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 14, 2014.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry, right, meets with his palestinian counterpart Riyad al-Maliki at the Egyptian foreign ministry in Cairo, Egypt, Monday, July 14, 2014.   (Amr Nabil)
Palestinians watch as the bodies of two men killed in an overnight Israeli missile strike, are brought in during their funeral procession, Monday, July 14, 2014.
Palestinians watch as the bodies of two men killed in an overnight Israeli missile strike, are brought in during their funeral procession, Monday, July 14, 2014.   (Lefteris Pitarakis)
A Palestinian mourner at a mosque kisses the body of Saddam Abu Muamer, 27, who was killed in an overnight Israeli missile strike, in southern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 14, 2014.
A Palestinian mourner at a mosque kisses the body of Saddam Abu Muamer, 27, who was killed in an overnight Israeli missile strike, in southern Gaza Strip, Monday, July 14, 2014.   (Lefteris Pitarakis)
Palestinians drive past a building destroyed by an Israeli strike on Friday, in Gaza City, Sunday, July 13, 2014.
Palestinians drive past a building destroyed by an Israeli strike on Friday, in Gaza City, Sunday, July 13, 2014.   (Lefteris Pitarakis)
In this file photo taken July 9, 2014, Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.
In this file photo taken July 9, 2014, Israeli missiles hit smuggling tunnels between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip.   (AP Photo/Hatem Ali, File)
In this file photo taken July 12, 2014, smoke trails from several missiles after Palestinian militants launched them from Gaza towards southern Israel, as seen from the Israel Gaza border.
In this file photo taken July 12, 2014, smoke trails from several missiles after Palestinian militants launched them from Gaza towards southern Israel, as seen from the Israel Gaza border.   (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis, File)
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