Israel extends Gaza truce until Sunday despite Hamas rocket fire

Security Cabinet votes in favor of UN humanitarian ceasefire after Hamas answers Israel’s extended four-hour lull with rocket fire; Hamas: No deal if Israel does not remove forces, source: Calm in fighting means we can focus on dismantling Gaza tunnels.

Moran Azulay, YNET

Prime Minister Netanyahu has extended Saturday’s ceasefire until midnight Sunday, despite the renewal of rocket fire by Hamas, which seriously wounded an Israeli.

Earlier Saturday, Israel agreed to extend a 12-hour ceasefire by four hours until midnight Saturday, even though Hamas and the Islamic Jihad refused to do so, firing rockets at Israel. Israeli tank fire killed a man in the southern Gaza Strip, a local official said.

Prime Minister Netayahu and Defense Minister Ya'alon (Photo: Haim Zach, GPO)

Prime Minister Netayahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon (Photo: Haim Zach, GPO)


United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Robert H. Serry called Israel and Hamas to agree to extend the ceasefire by 24 hours, and this was the offer the cabinet accepted.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Communication Minister Gilad Erdan voted in favor, while Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett and Intiror Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich voted against the deal.




A senior political source close to the cabinet’s proceedings said the IDF would respond to any attack during the break, and noted that “as fighting continues, work on destroying the tunnels slows down. The (ceasefire’s) goals is to allow the pace of destruction of tunnels to increase while also securing international support.”



One of the major stumbling blocks for the deal was the Israel’s insistence that forces be allowed to remain in Gaza to continue to work to dismantle tunnels during the pause in fighting. The result from Saturday lull was that the IDF managed to unearth four new tunnels without suffering any casualties.



Thus, Erdan, who said he would vote against the extension, changed his mind and voted in favor instead, sources close to him said.


Hamas’ spokesperson Sami Abu Zuhar said Hamas will not accept any ceasefire deal that does not include the removal of forces from Gaza: “Any humanitarian truce that doesn’t include an IDF withdrawal from Gaza Strip and doesn’t allow residents to return to their homes and evacuate wounded is unacceptable.”



Kerry on Gaza ceasefire: Israel wants deal


Before the Security Cabinet convened at to discuss an extended ceasefire deal, ministers voted to extend the humanitarian break in fighting until at least midnight Saturday in a telephone ballot conducted before the meeting.


“There is no deal to extend the ceasefire by four hours,” Sami Abu Zuhar, Hamas’ spokesperson said after Israel announced it would respect the lull for four more hours.


Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh said Saturday that “the resistance stands strong. There isn’t a force on the planet that can extort our people. We have decided to take our freedom and dignity and we won’t back down,” stressed Haniyeh


Meanwhile, an Israel official said that “As far as Israel is concerned, there is no reason to prevent Gaza’s people from stocking up on supplies, so long as the military can continue its work against the tunnels. Our war is not against the population,” he declined to be named.


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US Secretary of State John Kerry has pushed efforts to end 19 days of conflict in which over 1,000 Palestinians, many of them civilians, have been killed. He met counterparts from Europe and Qatar and Turkey – prime interlocutors with Hamas – at French-hosted talks in Paris.


Meanwhile, a Saturday morning report in Asharq Al-Awsat suggested that Hamas may be inclined to accept Kerry’s week-long ceasefire proposal, out of the desire to allow the people of Gaza to rest during the end of Ramadan, or Eid al-Fitr.




However, senior officials told the newspaper that Hamas is seeking further clarification of the specifics of guarantees including in the deal. Namely, the organization reportedly wants solidify a time-frame in which Israel would lift the siege of Gaza.



Kerry with UN's Ban and Egypt's Shukri (Photo: AP)
Kerry with UN’s Ban and Egypt’s Shukri (Photo: AP)



“All of us call on the parties to extend the humanitarian ceasefire that is currently underway,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said after the meeting, which also included the foreign ministers of Britain, Germany and Italy.



“All of us want to obtain, as quickly as possible, a durable, negotiated ceasefire that responds both to Israeli needs in terms of security and to Palestinian needs in terms of of the social-economic development (of Gaza) and access to the territory of Gaza,” Fabius said.



The ministers, along with senior EU diplomat Pierre Vimont, met on the same day that Israel began a 12-hour ceasefire during which it said it would press on searching for tunnels used by militants. The Islamist group Hamas, which rules Gaza, said all Palestinian factions would abide by the brief truce.



The United States refuses to deal with Hamas because it regards the Palestinian faction as a terrorist group.



“The necessity right now is to stop the loss of life,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters.



“And we stop the loss of life by getting this ceasefire to roll over for 12 hours, 24 hours or 48 hours – and then again until we have established the level of confidence that allows the parties to sit round a table to talk about the substantive issues.”



Israel on Friday rejected international proposals for an extended ceasefire, a government source said. Kerry said no formal proposals had been put forward but acknowledged there were still disagreements on the terminology to be used.



“For now the agenda is about getting the ceasefire extended without further preconditions…Once we start going into the demands of the different parties, and the underlying grievances, we run into problems,” Hammond noted.



German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said a ceasefire would only last if Gaza “no longer serves as weapons depot for Hamas and living conditions of the people improve”.


It is worth noting that the first to announce the ceasefire was Kerry, in his Cairo speech on Friday. Later in the day Hamas also confirmed the deal. However, Israeli officials were reluctant to confirm the reports, and the Prime Minister’s Office chose not to inform the Israeli public regarding their position. Only at 2:21 am Saturday did the IDF Spokesperson Unit let out a official press release confirm the ceasefire will come into effect.


After meeting Friday afternoon, the cabinet still had not made a decision on Kerry’s proposal. After long hours of deliberations, the ministers went on a break and were said to have planned to resume the meeting either later Friday night or on Saturday.


Attila Somalvi and the Associated Press contributed to this report


July 27, 2014 | 5 Comments »

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  1. THE FIX IS IN. This is different this time.

    Kerry today announced that the “solution” requires the Hamas tunnels to be destroyed; then he ADDED words to the effect that the Palestinians cannot continue to live this way. Implying, to me, that it is Israel’s fault and job to “fix “things for the Arabs in Gaza, Samaria, Judea, and Jerusalem. A third Arab Judenrein Palestinian state on Israeli soil, taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood and the IS?

    The U.S. KNEW, BUT DID NOT INFORM ISRAEL of the extent and sophistication of the tunnels. (Shades of Jonathan Pollard). THE US IS SENDING AN ADDITIONAL $ 47 million to Gaza, together with the $41 billion from the UAE. Is ANY country sending aid to Israel in its time of need?

    For me, there are “moments” that define: When the US president stormed out and declared, “I’m going to the residential wing to have dinner with Michelle and the girls.” the representative of all of Israel sat alone for an hour, waiting. For me, the signal was given that Israel would bend to all indignities.

    The cease-fires, being accepted by Israel, have been brokered by the US with the aid of Qatar and Turkey, who are the financial and military supporters of Hamas and International Jihad. “Qatar is the major bankroller of ISIS and al Nusra in Syria and Iraq, and the largest financier of International Jihad. (Qatar, gives $50 million a month to jihadists in Libya. Gives Hamas $100 million annually. Gave $620 million which included $250 million to Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal’s personal bank account, and $350 million in military aid to Hamas. Gave $100 million to Al JAzeera,” ) Caroline Glick.

    KNOWING the following: The US President phoned Israel’s Prime Minister on Sunday to voice serious concerns about the rising number of casualties in Gaza. “The most terrifying detail is being uncovered that Hamas had a plan to attack all the settlements and kibbutzim in the area this year on Rosh Hashanah with an invasion of over 200 terrorists into almost all the settlements in the area. The tunnels went under the kibbutzim under the kindergartens and dining rooms and other areas within the kibbutz perimeters. They planned to occupy the whole area and kill as many Israeli as possible. This could have been the worst terror attack in the history of terrorism. Thousands of people, including women and children would have been slaughtered in this planned attack.”

    KNOWING the following, the US is pushing Israel to cease-fires and Hamas demands: “…The convergence of THREE HAMAS STRATEGIES- storing its rockets in underground defensive tunnels inaccessible by air, firing them at a pace that would enable months of barrages, and aiming them at strategic targets such as airports and nuclear reactors – to paint a scenario under which a ground phase would inevitably be launched to degrade Hamas’s defensive tunnel infrastructure. The activation of Hamas’s offensive tunnels, through which the terror group sought to infiltrate Israel and launch mass-casualty attacks against lightly guarded Israeli civilian centers.”
    As Israel follows the “MOST MORAL ARMY IN THE WORLD” by sacrificing its own people in the service of assisting the enemy’s people, the world view this as a genetic cowardice of the Jewish people. And the more emboldened the Jew-Haters.

    Netanyahu has made the rounds of the capitals of the world, to plead for Moral Imperatives, to remind that this will come to them all. The results: A UN vote censuring Israel passed with only one vote against (the US). (Even the much vaulted friendship with and good deeds for India, did not stop that country from throwing Israel under the bus, voting “YES”. ) Demands for Israel to do more to protect Gaza lives. Demands for ceasefires followed by agreement to Hamas demands.

    Perhaps it is time, for the Israeli leaderships, political, media, academia, to head Winston Churchill’s words: “…WITHOUT VICTORY, THERE IS NO SURVIVAL.” And, as my mother taught me, “To be a doormat, one needs to lie down first.”

    And I end with the repeated “sense”. There is a force that will not allow a centimetre of Israeli soil to be given away and will reassemble. All efforts to the contrary are denied.

    My thoughts and prayers for the Israeli people and the IDF.

  2. Mission accomplished: Stage one of the cease-fire; and the eventual Hudna, long or short : “Either Hamas WILL stop the rocket Fire or we will:” Not an eternal cessation to rocket fire. Hudna (Arabic) means till you are strong enough or strong again – to continue THE JIHAD.( I asked a Muslim Shopkeeper, ” Why are you selling al-Cohol?” He told me: “To make the kuffar weak!” Stage 2 : Systematic demilitarisation. Isn’t that and secure borders prerequisites for a Palestinian state forever coming into existence ?

  3. “The necessity right now is to stop the loss of life,” British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told reporters.

    “And we stop the loss of life by getting this ceasefire to roll over for 12 hours, 24 hours or 48 hours – and then again until we have established the level of confidence that allows the parties to sit round a table to talk about the substantive issues.”

    What ‘substantive issues” the British Foreign Secretary was talking about?
    Is he expecting Israel to discus about its own “demise” with Jihadists who vowed to destroy it? That is unconscionable.

  4. @ NormanF:
    We are getting what from the ” international community”? Maybe we could say also that the fact that apparently Iron Dome is stopping the continuing rocket volleys is a winning sign?
    My friends. Unless Gaza’s Islamic forces and supporters are terminated, nothing has been accomplished. Nothing.
    As far as I can ascertain our soldiers are being sent to killing fields as I said the corrupt combina would do.
    That filth DID NOT KNOW about the armament and tunnels in Gaza? Of course not. They have been too busy attacking ghostly spray can wielding kids instead.

  5. Israel is saying “yes” while Hamas keeps saying “no” and giving Israel time to destroy its main assets. Hamas’ belligerence isn’t winning it any friends apart from Qatar and Turkey. The longer Hamas rejects a political settlement, the worse its position grows. Its leadership is not realizing how good its making Israel appear. Hamas is bringing disaster upon the Palestinian Arabs and this war is no longer about securing a victory Hamas can trumpet on the Arab Street and across the Muslim World; its about how much Hamas can avoid loss of face and complete humiliation at a time when its stock has never been lower.