Israel and Hamas reject Kerry’s ceasefire bid. The IDF awaits orders for next stage of Gaza operation

Posted July 26, 2014 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Israel and Hamas reject Kerry’s ceasefire bid. The IDF awaits orders for next stage of Gaza operation.

Israel’s security and political cabinet in Jerusalem and Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip and Qatar Friday, July 25, decided to reject the “humanitarian” seven-day ceasefire put before them by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

Both sides said they would consider the proposal with amendments, since neither wanted to be held responsible for derailing the process. And so both warring parties found it wise to leave the door ajar in case another round of negotiations came up with a better deal.

In the coming hours, Israel and Hamas must therefore consider where to go next.

Israeli ministers will have to decide whether to widen the scale of the counter-terror operation against Hamas and, if the decision is positive, to define its targets and limits.

Precise directives are now imperative because Israel’s war leaders, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, have changed the Operation Defensive Edge’s goals three times since it was launched 18 days ago.

First, they defined the objective as smashing Hamas military strength; then, to dismantle its rocket-launching and production facilities and, most recently, to demolish the vast subterranean complex of tunnels dug under the Gaza Strip, some of which are “terror” tunnels that snake under the border to Israeli civilian locations.
Both leaders warned frequently that time would be needed to finish any one of those missions.

And indeed, although much progress has been made, none of those goals has been fully achieved as yet, which was Israel’s overriding military consideration for rejecting a ceasefire at this time.

Above all, the operation has not reached the Hamas high command, which has managed to stay safe in its elaborate bunker under the center of Gaza City, untouched even by heavy Israeli air bombardments.
The head of the IDF’s Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Sami Torjeman said in an interview Friday that, in a week, the army had managed to destroy half of the tunnel network which took Hamas 4-5 years to build – a Herculean task. He also said he discerns a weakening in the Hamas fighting spirit and cases of commanders abandoning their men.

According to official figures, the IDF has located and taken control of 32 tunnels and demolished 15, giving priority to the passages running under the border into Israel. There is still plenty of work to be done: the complex subterranean cities running under Gaza cities, some 20 meters deep, have yet to be broached.

Former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter pointed out that the IDF incursion has gone no deeper into the Gaza Strip than 1-2 kilometers (its total width is 6-12 kilometers).

Going deeper and penetrating the most densely populated urban areas would require a cabinet directive to expand the operation.

The Lebanese Hizballah leader, Hassan Nasrallah picked up Friday on the dilemma exercising Israel when he said in one of his fiery speeches that, by the logic of the “resistance,”  Hamas has won the war, simply by proving it was able to stand up to the IDF for 18 days without caving. Therefore, he said, Hamas and Israel are caught up in a “cycle of failure”

This was of course a Nasrallah-style exaggeration to give a beleaguered ally a morale boost.
debkafile’s military sources would define the balance of war at this stage as a draw with a small edge in Israel’s favor: The facts are clear: the IDF has not achieved any decisive successes in the first week of its ground operation. Hamas has demonstrated flexibility and tactical initiative by twice sending bands of commandos into Israel by tunnel and by sea for terrorist attacks, which were foiled; incarcerated more than 5 million Israelis in shelters by thousands of rockets, which caused hardly any damage or casualties,  and partially shut down international air travel to Israel for 24 hours.

But Hamas has not won a single battle against the IDF troops fighting on its home ground – or even slowed down their advance into the Gaza Strip.

John Kerry hoped to use this moment of indecision between the two belligerents to push through a limited humanitarian truce for a week and so prevent the war escalating.

One of the reasons the Netanyahu government turned him down was that the deal would have given Hamas political and military parity with Israel for the first time, more than even this Islamist terrorist organization had thought to attain from its offensive.

Since neither Israel nor Hamas believes it has attained its war objectives, the fighting will continue, in the face of Kerry’s pledge in Cairo Friday to will carry on working on what he is confident is a  “fundamental framework that will ultimately succeed in bringing peace to the Middle East.”

Hezbollah leader vows to support Gazans

Posted July 26, 2014 by Louisiana Steve
Categories: Uncategorized

Hezbollah leader vows to support Gazans
July 25, 2014

BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group vowed on Friday to support Palestinian militants battling Israeli troops in Gaza, even as his own fighters are bogged down in the war in neighboring Syria.

In his first remarks on the latest Israeli-Palestinian fighting that erupted on July 8, Hassan Nasrallah warned Israel that it would be “suicide” to continue waging war in the Gaza Strip.

Hezbollah, a Shiite group, has long been one of the closest allies of Hamas, the main Palestinian Sunni faction which controls Gaza. Both militant groups are backed by Iran.

But relations between Hamas and Hezbollah soured following the uprising against President Bashar Assad’s rule in Syria, which erupted in March 2011, became an insurgency waged by overwhelmingly Sunni rebels, and later descended into full-blown civil war.

Hamas’ leader Khaled Mashaal shuttered Hamas’ Damascus offices and now spends most of his time in Qatar, the tiny Gulf Arab country that has strongly backed the rebels battling to overthrow Assad.

Hezbollah, meanwhile, is heavily engaged in fighting alongside Assad’s forces in Syria.

On Friday, Nasrallah called for putting all disputes aside in support of Gaza.

He said Hezbollah is closely following the Israel-Hamas fighting and that his followers will do all they can to help the Palestinians. He did not elaborate.

“From here I say to our brothers in Gaza: We are with you and beside you and confident of your steadfastness and your victory and we will do everything we can to support you,” he said.

Nasrallah spoke during a rare public appearance before thousands of supporters in southern Beirut, marking “Al-Quds Day” — a day of solidarity with Palestinians that Arabs traditionally observe on the last Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Al-Quds is Arabic for Jerusalem.

He said Gazans have already emerged victorious because “Israel has failed to touch the command and control structures of the Palestinian resistance,” or achieve any of its goals in Gaza so far.

Addressing Israelis, Nasrallah said: “You are in Gaza now in a state of failure, don’t go further to the level of suicide and collapse.”

Israel, Hamas to observe 12-hour unilateral cease-fire in Gaza

Posted July 26, 2014 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Uncategorized

Israel, Hamas to observe 12-hour unilateral cease-fire in Gaza, Jerusalem Post, 01: 2500 July 26, 2014

(Why? — DM)

Hours after rejecting terms for a longer cease-fire, Netanyahu told Kerry that Israel will begin a 12-hour pause in hostilities starting at 7 a.m. Israeli time on Saturday, a US official said.

NUTSUS Secretary of State John Kerry. Photo: REUTERS

Hamas also agreed to the 12-hour humanitarian truce to pause Gaza hostilities starting on Saturday, a spokesman for the Islamist group told Reuters.


Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has told US Secretary of State John Kerry that Israel will begin a 12-hour pause in Gaza hostilities starting at 7 a.m. Israeli time  on Saturday, a US official said on Friday.

The official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, made the comment when asked about Kerry’s earlier statement on a goodwill gesture by Netanyahu at a press conference in Cairo.

Hamas also agreed to the 12-hour humanitarian truce to pause Gaza hostilities starting on Saturday, a spokesman for the Islamist group told Reuters.

Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said Hamas, together with all militant groups in Gaza, had agreed to the temporary ceasefire he said was mediated by the United Nations.

Earlier Friday, Netanyahu’s security cabinet rejected proposals for a longer cease-fire in the Gaza Strip and is seeking changes to the plans, a government source said on Friday.

Kerry has been pushing for a halt to 18 days of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Full details of the proposed truce have not been released, but the government official, who declined to be named, said Israel wanted modifications before agreeing to any end to hostilities. Hamas has yet to respond to the proposed ceasefire.

France will host several foreign ministers, including those of the United States, Turkey and Qatar, in Paris on Saturday to coordinate efforts to try and enable a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, a French diplomatic source said.

“In support of initiatives currently under way, most notably Egypt’s initiative, our objective is to converge all international efforts so that the conditions of a ceasefire can emerge as quickly as possible,” the source said.

The meeting, which will start early on Saturday morning, will also be attended by Germany, Italy, Britain and European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.

There will not be any representatives at this stage from Israel, Hamas or the Palestinian Authority.

Kerry said on Friday that there are still disagreements on the terminology for a Gaza truce but he is confident there is a framework that will ultimately succeed.

He told reporters in Cairo that “serious progress” had been made on a truce but there was more work to do and he was sure that Netanyahu is committed to working towards a ceasefire.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, also at the press conference, called for a seven-day humanitarian truce with an extendable 12-hour pause.

Earlier Friday, Channel 10 cited sources in the diplomatic-security cabinet who said that Israel viewed Kerry’s bridging proposals as “a Qatari proposal with ornaments.”

Qatar has been accused by Israel of providing financing and political support to Hamas. According to Channel 10, senior Israeli ministers have ruled as “out of the question” a cease-fire in which the IDF would be prevented from fully rooting out the threat of underground tunnels built by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

Media reports indicated that Kerry’s cease-fire proposal included a week-long halt to fighting so that humanitarian supplies could be distributed in Gaza.

Earlier on Friday, aides to Kerry were said to be cautiously optimistic regarding the chances of a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, Channel 10 reported.

According to the report, officials close to the secretary of state said that there is a chance a week-long halt in fighting could be announced as soon as Friday evening.

Netanyahu convened his security cabinet on Friday to discuss Kerry’s pitch for a limited humanitarian truce under which Palestinian movement would be freed up to allow in aid and for casualties to be recovered.

Earlier Friday, Channel 2 quoted “senior Hamas officials” as saying that the leadership of the Islamist group was “leaning toward” accepting the Kerry framework.

An Israeli official said the Netanyahu government envisages the initial halt to the fighting lasting seven days, during which the army would keep digging up tunnels on Gaza’s eastern frontier.

“First Israel wants to hear Hamas’s response to the (Kerry) proposals,” an official said, adding that some members of the security cabinet also sought assurances that Gaza would be stripped of its remaining rockets under any extended ceasefire.

Officially, Hamas had no immediate comment on the proposal. On Wednesday, its leader, Khaled Meshaal, voiced support for a humanitarian truce, but only if Israel eased restrictions on Gaza’s 1.8 million people.

Hamas wants Egypt to open up its border with Gaza, too, and has demanded that Israel release hundreds of prisoners rounded up by Israel in a sweep of the West Bank last month following the kidnap and killing of three Jewish teenagers.

Such concessions appear unlikely, however, as both Israel and Egypt consider Hamas a security threat.

One Cairo official said next week’s Eid al-Fitr festival, which concludes Ramadan, was a possible date for a truce. But US officials were circumspect on progress made by Kerry in the mediation that has involved Egypt, Turkey, Qatar and Abbas.

“Gaps remain between the parties, so his focus is on finding a formula that both sides can accept,” a senior US official said on Thursday, adding that Kerry would not stay “for an indefinite amount of time”.

Israel and US openly at odds over Gaza ceasefire terms

Posted July 25, 2014 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Uncategorized

Israel and US openly at odds over Gaza ceasefire terms, Times of Israel, July 25, 2014

Israeli ministers unanimously reject Kerry proposal, and government sources say it leans heavily toward Hamas, wouldn’t enable Israel to keep tackling Hamas tunnels.

Kerry Egypt FMUS Secretary of State John Kerry stands with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri during a press conference in Cairo, Friday, July 25, 2014. Kerry said he has not yet reached a deal between Israel and Hamas to call a 7-day humanitarian truce in the Israel-Hamas conflict but is continuing work. (AP Photo/Pool)

Israel and its key ally the United States were in open disagreement Friday night, after the Israeli cabinet unanimously rejected a ceasefire offer drawn up by Secretary of State John Kerry to halt 18 days of Israeli-Hamas conflict.

Kerry, speaking in Cairo, vowed to keep working on a ceasefire, and said Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “committed” to working to narrow the gaps that were preventing a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire intended to lead to a longer-term deal. He also said Netanyahu had accepted an idea, proposed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, of a 12-hour humanitarian time out. Israeli sources said the idea was under consideration.

But Israeli government sources told Army Radio the ceasefire terms proposed by Kerry were “completely unreasonable.” An unnamed senior Israeli government official flatly disputed Kerry’s assertion that his offer was “built on the Egyptian initiative” – which Israel accepted last week and Hamas rejected. In fact, the official was quoted saying, the Kerry offer is not built on the Egyptian proposal and tilts heavily toward Hamas.

The Army Radio report highlighted that the US on Monday signed an $11 billion arms deal with Qatar, and noted that Qatar is championing Hamas’s demands in the ceasefire negotiations, and is also alleged by Israel to be financing Hamas’s rocket production, tunnel digging infrastructure, and other elements of its military infrastructure. The radio report also claimed that Ban Ki-moon “is flying around the region on a Qatari plane.”

Indications from the lengthy Israeli cabinet meeting that rejected Kerry’s offer Friday are that the ministers were incensed that the terms of the deal would not have enabled Israel to continue to locate and demolish a network of dozens of tunnels that Hamas has dug, up to a mile or more long, from under Gaza residential areas all the way beneath the Israeli border.

Six Israeli soldiers have been killed by Hamas gunmen emerging from these tunnels in five incidents in the past 18 days, and Netanyahu said on Sunday that Hamas was planning massive terrorist attacks via the tunnels on Israeli kibbutzim that would have had “catastrophic consequences.”

Israel’s relations with Kerry, strained for a long time, were not helped when he was caught on a hot-mic earlier this week apparently sneering at Israel’s insistence that it is trying to tackle Hamas terror targets in Gaza with “pinpoint” accuracy. Comments made by the secretary in the same incident also indicated that Israel had not invited him to embark on this ceasefire mission, presumably because Israel wanted more time to tackle the Hamas tunnels.

The Israeli army’s southern commander, who is overseeing Israel’s ground offensive in Gaza, confirmed earlier Friday that he felt the army needed more time, although it had located what it believes are most of the tunnels.

The formal text of the ceasefire proposal offered by Kerry and rejected by Israel had not been released as of Friday evening. Earlier, though, The Times of Israel reported on what Arab sources said were its key elements.

The Kerry proposal, they said, provides for an immediate halt to hostilities to be followed 48 hours later by the start of five to-seven days of contacts between Israel, Palestinian and Egyptian delegations in Cairo, with the Palestinian delegation including Hamas officials. The talks in Egypt would include discussion of Hamas’s call for the lifting of the so-called siege of the Gaza Strip, and other demands.

In his comments on Friday in Cairo, Kerry said that Egypt had indeed offered to bring the “Palestinian factions,” and other interested parties, and Israel, to Cairo for such talks. “We still have some terminology” to work through, Kerry said. “But we are confident that we have a fundamental framework” that can work.

The Arab sources said the Kerry terms would provide for all military activity by the sides to halt immediately. On the Palestinian side, this provision was interpreted as meaning that Israel’s activities to find and destroy Hamas’s cross-border tunnels would also immediately be halted. But Israel has reportedly pushed for terms that would enable it to continue tackling the Hamas tunnels after a halt to hostilities.

The Arab sources said the discussions in Cairo would cover Hamas demands relating to: opening border crossings between Gaza and Israel; opening the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt; the release of recently rearrested prisoners from the Shalit deal; the release of some 30 convicted terrorists, including Israeli Arabs, who were set to go free under the collapsed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks in late March; widening Palestinian fishing rights off the Gaza coast, and the establishment of a Gaza seaport.

Netanyahu has said Operation Protective Edge will continue and expand as necessary until sustained calm has been achieved for the people of Israel and Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure has been significantly weakened. Israeli officials have spoken of the need to have Gaza demilitarized, and the EU earlier this week demanded the disarming of Hamas and other Gaza terror groups. Hamas has fired over 2,000 rockets at Israel over the past 18 days. The IDF launched a ground offensive last Thursday that has focused on finding and demolishing the network of dozens of tunnels dug by Hamas under the Israel border.



Gaza Would Have Been Occupied without Iran’s Support, Cleric Says

Posted July 25, 2014 by Louisiana Steve
Categories: Uncategorized

Gaza Would Have Been Occupied without Iran’s Support, Cleric Says

July 25, 2014 – 17:49

​ (Yep, occupied and a lot better off when you consider what Iran has to offer. Isn’t it amazing the tough stand Iran always takes when someone else is doing the fighting?-LS)

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – A top Iranian cleric said that had it not been for Iran’s support for Gaza, the entire coastal enclave would have been occupied by the Zionist regime of Israel.

“The Islamic Iran is proud of its all-out support for Palestine,” Tehran’s Provisional Friday Prayers Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said Friday, adding “If it had not been for Iran’s proper supports, the Zionist regime would have (been able to) occupy the entire Gaza (Strip) today”.

He noted that according to the Zionist regime’s interior minister, the order had been issued for the Israeli forces to occupy Gaza “but you can see now that they have become grounded (there)… and the Zionist regime is desperately seeking a ceasefire”.

Ayatollah Khatami underlined that the Palestinian Resistance Movement would not agree to a ceasefire until its demands, including the release of Palestinian prisoners and an end to the Gaza blockade, are met.

Earlier and in a Wednesday speech Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Imam Khamenei also highlighted Tel Aviv’s desperation for a ceasefire in Gaza.

Imam Khamenei referred to Israel’s efforts to broker a truce with Palestinian fighters, saying the regime “which commits crimes beyond human imagination has become desperate” after facing strong resistance from Palestinians.

Ayatollah Khatami, elsewhere in his Friday prayers sermon, referred to the issue of Palestine and support for the oppressed Palestinian nation as a pivot of the Iranian nation’s unity.

He added that all Iranian groups, factions and political figures with various political inclinations got united and participated in Friday’s rallies marking the International Quds Day.

Iranians of different social strata held massive rallies all over the country on Friday morning to mark the International Quds Day in a show of support for the oppressed nation of Palestine.

The huge demonstrations saw Iranians venting their anger on the Tel Aviv regime and its allies and calling for an end to the Israeli attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.

Carrying placards and chanting slogans against Israel and the US, marchers voiced their support for the people of Gaza, and reiterated their opposition to the occupation of the Palestinian territories by the Zionists.

Each year, the International Quds Day is celebrated on the last Friday of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

This year’s rallies came against the backdrop of a massive Israeli onslaught on the besieged Gaza Strip.

As the 18-day Israeli offensive on Gaza rages on, above 800 Palestinians have been killed, and over 5,200 other injured in the besieged enclave.

Kerry Vows to Press On After Israel Rejects Gaza Cease-Fire Proposal

Posted July 25, 2014 by danmillerinpanama
Categories: Uncategorized

Kerry Vows to Press On After Israel Rejects Gaza Cease-Fire Proposal, Voice of America, July 25, 2014

(Kerry says he will keep on keeping on. The positions of Israel and Hamas remain far apart.– DM)

Kerry at al at press conf in CairoU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, second left, with Secretary-General of the Arab League Nabil al-Araby, far left, Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, second right, and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, speaks at a hotel in Cairo, Egypt, July 25, 2014

“None of us is stopping,” Kerry said, adding he will continue negotiations from Paris on Saturday.

Kerry described a broad timetable for continued talks and said there was “no formal proposal” presented to the Israeli cabinet for approval by vote. Kerry said Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu has assured him that he wants to find a way forward.


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry vowed to press on for a truce after Israel  rejected a proposal for a cease-fire between Israel’s military and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli public television said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet is seeking modifications before any agreement to end hostilities.

Kerry said late Friday that efforts will continue towards an agreement . He proposed a plan that would begin with a week-long cease-fire starting Sunday to stop two weeks of intense fighting that has sent the death toll soaring among Palestinian civilians.

“This is broad effort,” Kerry said, speaking to reporters alongside the Egyptian foreign minister in Cairo. “At this moment we are working toward a brief, seven-day cease-fire in honor of Eid.”

Kerry was referring to the days concluding the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

​Kerry’s proposal calls for prompt negotiations among Palestinian and Israeli officials on major economic, political and security issues. Representatives of other nations would attend the talks.

“None of us is stopping,” Kerry said, adding he will continue negotiations from Paris on Saturday.

Kerry described a broad timetable for continued talks and said there was “no formal proposal” presented to the Israeli cabinet for approval by vote. Kerry said Israeli Prime Minster Netanyahu has assured him that he wants to find a way forward.

Kerry met for hours in Cairo with Egypt’s foreign minister, Sameh Shukri, and the United Nations’ chief, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“The people of Gaza have bled enough,” Ban told reporters in Cairo, appearing with Kerry. “First, stop the fighting…Second start talking. There is no military solution.”

Ban has decried the conflict’s impact on civilians.

On Friday, five Palestinians were killed in the West Bank as the conflict in Gaza spread. The death toll rose to more than 800 Palestinians – mostly civilians – 35 Israelis and one foreign worker in Israel.

Egypt has mediated previous conflicts between Israel and Hamas, including a 2012 cease-fire. The United States, Israel’s closest ally, does not negotiate directly with the militant Palestinian group, which it has branded a terrorist organization.

Israeli security cabinet meeting

Netanyahu convened his security cabinet on Friday and Israeli media said the cabinet continued to meet into the night.

An Israeli official said the Netanyahu government envisaged an initial halt to the fighting lasting seven days, during which the army would keep digging up tunnels on Gaza’s eastern frontier.

According to Western and Palestinian officials, once a humanitarian lull takes hold, delegations from Israel and Hamas would arrive in Cairo for indirect talks that could lead to a lasting truce.

“First Israel wants to hear Hamas’s response to the [Kerry] proposals,” the official said, adding that some members of the security cabinet also sought assurances that Gaza would be stripped of its remaining rockets under any extended cease-fire.

Hamas had no immediate comment. On Wednesday, its leader Khaled Meshaal voiced support for a humanitarian truce, but only if Israel eased restrictions on Gaza’s 1.8 million people.

Hamas wants Egypt to open up its border with Gaza, too, and has demanded that Israel release hundreds of prisoners rounded up by Israel in a sweep of the West Bank last month following the kidnap and killing of three Jewish teenagers.

Calls for a cease-fire have escalated, especially since Thursday, the 18-day-old conflict’s deadliest day, when more than 100 Palestinians were killed.

The U.N. secretary-general said he was “appalled” by Thursday’s shelling of a United Nations-run school being used as a shelter from the violence. The victims included “women and children, as well as U.N. staff,” Ban said.

The U.S. State Department said it was “deeply concerned,” though it did not explicitly blame Israel for the shelling.

Israel’s military, which has hit two other U.N. shelters in recent days, did not say it was behind the attack, but acknowledged fighting in the area Thursday.

The military said it warned civilians to vacate the area, but blamed Hamas for not allowing them to leave before the deadline.

Palestinian protesters have clashed with Israeli troops in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Palestinian medics say five Palestinians died in the West Bank during protests Friday. Demonstrators in the Palestinian territory marched in solidarity with Gaza in the northern village of Hawara. Thousands also demonstrated overnight, in what many observers are calling the West Bank’s biggest protest in a decade.

In East Jerusalem, dozens of Palestinian protesters hurled rocks and threw Molotov cocktails at an Israeli army checkpoint.

In Iran, government-run broadcasts said “millions” of people joined rallies nationwide to mark solidarity with Palestinians on Friday for its annual al-Quds Day event. Quds is the Arabic word for Jerusalem, one of the most important cities in the Muslim faith. The yearly show of support occurs on the last Friday of Ramadan.

Clashes continue

On Friday, dozens of Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli police near Jerusalem’s Old City and clashes erupted in other parts of the West Bank near Hebron and Nablus.

Police in Jerusalem barred entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque to men younger than 50 years. But many gathered on streets outside the barricades to hold prayers on the last Friday of Ramadan.

The Palestinians were staging what they called a day of rage against the Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.

In addition to killing hundreds, the conflict has wounded thousands and destroyed thousands of homes and a dozen hospitals and clinics.

Hebrew University Professor Moshe Ma’oz said the outbreak of violence was inevitable due to rising tensions after the collapse of a nine-month effort to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

“It’s a vicious cycle of struggles and conflict,” Ma’oz said. There are no saints in the Middle East and certainly not on this issue. Everybody contributed to it.”

The collapse led to a reconciliation agreement between Hamas, which controls Gaza, and Fatah which dominates the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The accord angered the Israeli government, which considers Hamas a terrorist organization. Some Israeli officials have called for the operation in Gaza to continue until Hamas is destroyed.

Hamas invincible?

The head of East Jerusalem’s International Peace and Cooperation Center, Rami Nasrallah, it isn’t possible to destroy Hamas.

“I mean, we’re not talking about a gang of 10 or 200 people,” Nasrallah said. “We’re talking about a major social, political power within the Palestinian society, whether in Gaza or in the West Bank.”

He said the Israeli strikes in Gaza rather have strengthened support for Hamas among Palestinians and obliged Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to express public support for the demands of Hamas.

Israel Rejects Kerry’s Ceasefire Proposal

Posted July 25, 2014 by Joseph Wouk
Categories: Uncategorized

Israel Rejects Kerry’s Ceasefire Proposal – Defense/Security – News – Arutz Sheva.

Cabinet unanimously votes to reject the ceasefire proposed by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

By Elad Benari, Canada

First Publish: 7/25/2014, 8:49 PM
Tanks gearing up for Gaza

Tanks gearing up for Gaza
Flash 90

Israel rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza on Friday evening.

According to reports in the Israeli media, the Cabinet which met on the issue unanimously voted to reject the proposal.

“The security cabinet has unanimously rejected the ceasefire proposal of Kerry, as it stands,” Channel 1 News reported, adding that ministers would continue discussing it.

According to Channel 10 News, even though the ceasefire proposal was rejected, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would still prefer to avoid an extensive ground operation in Gaza at this time.

Earlier on Friday, the London-based Al Hayat newspaper reported that Hamas had agreed to a five-day “humanitarian ceasefire” on terms suggested by Kerry.

Kerry’s proposal reportedly includes some of the unprecedented terms proposed by Hamas leaders, but not all. According to the daily, the truce would not see any terrorists released, despite Hamas’s demands.

An official involved in the negotiations for a ceasefire told The New York Times earlier Friday that Kerry has proposed a two-stage plan that would first impose a weeklong truce starting Sunday.

As soon as the truce took effect, Palestinian Authority and Israeli officials would begin negotiations on the principal economic, political and security concerns about Gaza, with other nations attending.

It was not clear if the final plan would be endorsed by Hamas, noted The New York Times.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal declared on Wednesday that Israel must accept his list of unprecedented conditions for a ceasefire in order for any truce to be declared.


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