Palestinians Reportedly Weighing Egyptian Cease-Fire as Gaza Rockets Slam Down
Palestinian negotiators are considering a renewed Egyptian-brokered 72-hour cease-fire in fighting in Gaza, despite Hamas’ claims that talk have fallen through, according to the Israeli NRG News site.
Sources in Cairo said the cease-fire bid is unconditional.
Islamic Jihad representatives to the talks said any deal must assure “reciprocity,” according to Israel Radio.
“We came here for a deal, no deal without talks, so we have accepted 72-hr truce to resume talks,” Haaretz tweeted a Palestinian delegate as saying.
Israel maintains that there “will be no discussions under fire.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking at the opening of the regular weekly cabinet session, said that Operation Protective Edge is continuing. “At no stage did we declare its conclusion,” the PM said.
“The operation will continue until its goal is met – the restoration of a quiet for a long period. I said at the outset of, and throughout, the operation that it would take time and patience,” Netanyahu said. “Israel will not negotiate under fire and Israel will continue to take all action in order to change the current reality and bring quiet to all of its citizens. We will stand together, united and determined, until we complete the work.”
As of 15:00 IST, Hamas rocket crews were still firing salvos of rockets into Israel, particularly at villages and kibbutzim close to Gaza, as well as at the cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod, some five and ten miles, respectively, up the coast.
Palestinian mortar shelling also hit the Kerem Shalom crossing point at the southern end of the coastal enclave, prompting officials to shut down operations, according to Foreign Ministry Spokesman Paul Hirschson.
“Keren Shalom crossing into Gaza closed because of hostile fire. Hamas deliberately preventing humanitarian aid reaching those in need,” Hirschson wrote in a tweet.
The IDF confirmed the rocket fire.
“Gaza terrorists fired 2 rockets over Sderot moments ago. The Iron Dome intercepted them,” according to an army spokesman.
There were no immediate reports of physical injury or damage.