Israel, Hamas Agree to Pause —but Invasion Looks Likely

UN gets 5-hour humanitarian window tomorrow; 4 boys killed on Gaza beach
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 16, 2014 5:45 PM CDT
Israel, Hamas Agree to Pause —but Invasion Looks Likely
Smoke rises after an Israeli missile strike in the Gaza strip Wednesday.   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

It looks like the bombs into and out of Gaza and Israel will finally stop tomorrow, if only for five hours. Both sides have agreed to cease-fire from 10am to 3pm local time for humanitarian reasons, reports the Jerusalem Post. The request came from the UN, but it doesn't seem to be raising hopes that it will lead to a longer period of peace. Both the New York Times and the Washington Post quote an Israeli defense official as saying that the possibility of a ground invasion by Israel into Gaza is "very high."

The official elaborates to the Times: “If you want to efficiently fight terrorism you must be present, boots on the ground." He said that a takeover of Gaza was “not a huge challenge,” but that any occupation would have to last "many months" to ensure longer-term peace. The big headline out of today's violence, meanwhile, is that Israeli shelling killed four Palestinian boys playing on a Gaza beach, reports Reuters. "When the first shell hit land, they ran away but another shell hit them all," a witness tells the news agency. "It looked as if the shells were chasing them." Scores of Palestinian rockets again were fired into Israel. (In related news, overflowing sewage is becoming a problem in Gaza.)

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