Israel accepts, Hamas rejects Egyptian-proposed Gaza truce

July 15, 2014 11:48 am | Updated November 16, 2021 05:35 pm IST - Tel Aviv

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel, after eight days of cross-border attacks with Gaza, on Tuesday unilaterally accepted an Egyptian-proposed truce, despite earlier rejections by Palestinian armed groups.

“The (security) Cabinet has decided to answer positively to the Egyptian initiative for a ceasefire starting today at 9 am (0600 GMT),” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

The forum of seven senior Ministers warned that Israel would respond forcefully to any ongoing rocket attacks.

Commentators said the positive — and for the moment unilateral — Israeli answer was partially a bid to recruit international support, in case the rocket fire did not stop and Israel would have to expand the offensive and send in ground troops.

While Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the initiative, the political wing of the Hamas movement rejected it.

“A ceasefire before reaching an agreement is rejected. “Hamas position has not changed since before or after the Israeli occupation accepted the ceasefire initiative. “Hamas has not officially received any initiative from anyone,” spokesman Sami Abu Zuchri said in a statement.

Hamas’ armed wing, the Qassam Brigades, earlier rejected the truce.

The Brigades, in a statement issued 30 minutes before the truce would take effect, said the proposal “isn’t worth the ink that wrote it.” No one had bothered to “contact the resistance in this alleged initiative,” it complained.

Hamas has had no relations with Cairo since the ousting of Egypt’s former President Mohamed Morsy.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniya said “We really want this aggression and this war to end.” But, he added in a televised address to al-Aqsa , “The occupation is the one which started this war and it is the one which should end it. We have our conditions in order to end it. The most important is to end the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and free our prisoners.”

Despite the statements, southern Israel saw a relatively quiet night.

Two rockets launched from Gaza landed in southern Israel after midnight, a military spokesman in Tel Aviv said. He had of yet no confirmation that another missile was shot down in the morning over the southern coastal city of Ashkelon. Israel continued its airstrikes on Gaza overnight ahead of the proposed truce, pounding 25 targets on the eighth day of the conflict.

A motorcycle was struck near the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah and another house of a senior suspected militant was bombed.

The confirmed death toll reached 189, with 1,400 injured, Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qedra said, many of them are civilians.

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