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Israel considering week-long ceasefire proposed by Kerry
Published Friday 25/07/2014 (updated) 25/07/2014 21:34
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A Palestinian wounded in an Israeli strike on a UN school in Beit Hanoun,
in the northern Gaza Strip, arrives at the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City,
on July 24, 2014 (AFP Mohammed Abed)
GAZA CITY (AFP) -- International pressure on both sides to cease fire ramped up Friday after the alleged Israeli shelling of a UN facility sheltering displaced Gazans killed at least 15 civilians, drawing widespread international condemnation.

Israel's security cabinet was to meet Friday to discuss a truce proposal passed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by US Secretary of State John Kerry, Israeli media reported.

It proposes an initial week-long humanitarian ceasefire along with indirect talks between Hamas and Israel in Cairo.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu flew to Qatar on Friday to help efforts after Kerry reached out to Hamas allies Ankara and Doha to push for a ceasefire.

According to Western and Palestinian officials, once a humanitarian lull takes hold, delegations from Israel and Hamas will arrive in Cairo -- which has mediated past conflicts between the two -- for indirect talks that could lead to a lasting deal.

Hamas, however, has insisted that it will only accept a ceasefire that involves an end to an eight-year long blockade that has crippled the Gaza Strip's economy.

7-day humanitarian truce

Kerry has been joined in Cairo by UN chief Ban Ki-moon and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to push forward the plan, diplomats said.

Ban on Friday urged an immediate "humanitarian pause" in the fighting coinciding with the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which begins on Monday or Tuesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

"On this, the last Friday of Ramadan, I call for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza and Israel. This pause would last through the Eid al-Fitr holiday period," Ban said in a statement released by his office.

Hamas' exiled Doha-based leader Khaled Meshaal, however, insisted in a Thursday interview with the BBC that any truce must include a guaranteed end to Israel's eight-year blockade of Gaza.

"We want a ceasefire as soon as possible, that's parallel with the lifting of the siege of Gaza," he said.

Israel braced meanwhile for West Bank and East Jerusalem unrest after Palestinian factions declared a "Day of Rage" and Israeli police restricted entry to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound to men aged 50 and above.

At least four Palestinians were killed on Friday afternoon, after one Palestinian was killed and 150 were injured in Thursday night clashes with Israeli forces in the West Bank, Palestinian medics said.

An AFP correspondent said nearly 1,000 Palestinians were holding a protest in the southern West Bank city Hebron on Friday afternoon, with a similar demonstration taking place in nearby Halhul.

In Gaza, the death toll rose to 838 in 18 days of violence, with a five-year-old child among the latest deaths announced.

Ma'an staff contributed to this report.
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1 ) David / USA
25/07/2014 18:44
Kerry proposes lots of warped ideas- but Israel ignores him. Kerry has proven he doesn't understand Hamas and therefore his suggestion is worthless. Maybe Kerry SHOULD propose that Ma'an News take an active role and demand Hamas stand down and surrender so that the carnage can stop. But Ma'an News has no integrity for the truth. It's just a polite mouthpiece for Hamas. Gazans are being killed because the power of the press IS NOT BEING USED. TELL HAMAS TO SURRENDER! (If you dare.)

2 ) kenny / usa
25/07/2014 19:17
Israel might consider the ceasfire. Will hamas?

3 ) David / USA
25/07/2014 19:48
But they never held a demonstration against the rocket fire into Israel that instigated Israel's response! Isn't that strange? They can't seem to swallow the simple fact that if Hamas hadn't launched rockets into Israel for years and hadn't sent terrorist hit squads into Israel, then nobody in Gaza would be dead or injured today. Not a single person. The world has a word to describes these people: MORONS. Hamas will soon be eradicated. Abbas had better watch what he says.

4 ) Maureen / Australia
25/07/2014 20:29
Some of Netanyahu's ministers are against a cease fire and want an expansion of bombing in Gaza according to YNet News... US government should retake the WMD it has given to its rabbid warmongering dog in the Middle East!

5 ) Tibi / Tubas
25/07/2014 21:57
-1- Israel plans for Gaza ceasefire, [a] that does Not lead to another war, [b] that does Not allow Hamas to prepare for the next war, because
* ISRAEL HOPES FOR PEACE, With All Its Neighbors, BUT
-2- Hamas is already planning to rearm for the next war, just like it did with the 2006, 209, & 2012 ceasefires, and Hamas will never consider peace, so
* THERE SHOULD BE NO MORE CEASEFIRES DEALS, With Hamas !!

6 ) Seraphina Gabriel / Wales
26/07/2014 14:06
Mohammed Nazzal of Hamas was very articulate & calm on Al Jazeera when he stated Hamas' reasons for wanting the siege on Gaza to be lifted, in order to continue with the ceasefire proposal. Gazans are human beings, they deserve to live a decent life. I was very moved by the way he spoke. Were Hamas to be given guarantees by the international community that the siege of Gaza will be lifted, allowing freedom for Gazan people, I believe Hamas would commit to a cease fire & to further negotiations.
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