Israel, Hamas OK 12-Hour Ceasefire

Israel had just rejected truce proposal from John Kerry
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2014 1:45 PM CDT
Updated Jul 25, 2014 5:56 PM CDT
Israel Rejects Kerry's Ceasefire Plan
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry talks to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about terms of a cease-fire in fighting in Gaza between Israel and Hamas, Friday, July 25, 2014, from his hotel suite in Cairo, Egypt. At left is Frank Lowenstein, acting special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.   (AP Photo/Pool)

Hours after Israel rejected John Kerry's proposed ceasefire, Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian truce starting at 7am Israeli time, a US official told the Jerusalem Post. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Kerry about the new arrangement, CNN reports. In rebuffing his earlier proposal, officials said the Israeli Defense Forces had to keep destroying Hamas-built tunnels running from Gaza Into Israel. The officials also seemed to bristle at a call for Israel and Hamas to discuss opening the blockaded Gaza border: Members of Israel's Security Cabinet were quoted as saying Kerry's offer was "a Qatari proposal with ornaments"—a reference to Israeli accusations that Qatar has given Hamas political and financial backing.

Israel said it would, however, accept a seven-day ceasefire if it could keep destroying the tunnels, an Israeli official said. (The IDF will apparently keep looking for tunnels during the current ceasefire but won't destroy them, YNet News reports.) Meanwhile, France is bringing together foreign ministers tomorrow from several countries—including the US, Qatar, Turkey, Germany, and Italy—in an attempt to forge another ceasefire. "Our objective is to converge all international efforts so that the conditions of a ceasefire can emerge as quickly as possible," said a French diplomatic source. On the war front, the Guardian reports that at least six Palestinians died and scores were wounded during clashes in the West Bank. (More Israel and Palestinians stories.)

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