Official: Israel, Palestinian factions consider 72-hour cease-fire in Gaza
(CNN) The Palestinian delegation has agreed to a three-day cease-fire proposed by Egypt, Izzat Risheq, a senior Hamas official, told CNN on Monday.
“We are waiting on the Israelis to show up for the talks with the Egyptians about the proposed cease-fire,” Risheq said by telephone from Cairo.
“If Israel does not show up, it means that they were never serious about ending this war and it will show their true intentions.”
Egypt is negotiating for a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian factions, including Hamas, an Egyptian official told CNN.
The official described it as a “pure humanitarian cease-fire,” with no military action allowed, that would begin sometime Tuesday.
The official said there are “strong indications” that the Israelis and Palestinians have accepted it. But the official cautioned that until there is an announcement, nothing is official.
Cease-fire in Gaza ends, Israeli campaign goes on
A humanitarian cease-fire declared by Israel has expired and the campaign in Gaza is continuing, according to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He said Monday that Israel is nearly finished with its operation to destroy Hamas’ network of tunnels, but “this operation will end only when quiet and security are restored to the citizens of Israel for a lengthy period.”
There are very few tunnels left, according to IDF spokeswoman Lt. Libby Weiss. “Those remaining numbers are in the single digits, between one and three,” she said.
Netanyahu said the Israel Defense Forces “struck a very severe blow at Hamas and the other terrorist organizations. We have no intention of attacking the residents of Gaza.”
During the cease-fire, the IDF continued to operate in the areas around Rafah, but residents of other parts of Gaza flooded the streets to pick up supplies and check on their abandoned homes. Al Saha, the largest open-air market in Gaza, was bustling with vendors. One man hung clothes for sale from the burnt-out carcass of a bus struck a few days ago by Israeli fire power. Cars jammed Gaza’s main road, but the atmosphere appeared relaxed and children played in the street.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said at least 18 people were killed in Gaza during Monday’s cease-fire, including an 8-year-old in a strike on a house in a refugee camp in Gaza City.
That strike also injured 30 people, Palestinian health officials said, and happened after Israel had started the cease-fire.
Israel said that strike did not violate the cease-fire because it happened just two minutes into it and the operation had already been in progress.
Hamas had not agreed to the Israeli-declared cease-fire, and at least 53 rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel on Monday, according to the IDF.
Daniel Mansour, a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad operative in charge of intelligence-gathering in northern Gaza, was targeted and killed before the cease-fire Monday, the IDF said. He had participated in directing rocket attacks toward Israel, the IDF said.
Two attacks in Jerusalem
Police in Jerusalem said they foiled what they descrbied as a terror attack when they shot and killed the driver of an earthmover after it overturned a passenger bus.
Police said one pedestrian was also killed and the bus driver was injured. There were no passengers on the bus at the time, police said.
The driver of the earthmover was identified as 20-year-old Mohammed Jaabis, a Palestinian from the East Jerusalem Neighborhood of Jabal alMukaber.
Footage broadcast by Israel’s Channel 10 showed the earthmover still moving as security forces approached. It appeared to show shots being fired.
The incident happened in the Sheikh Jarrah area of central Jerusalem, near the entrance to a Jewish orthodox neighborhood.
Hamas praised the attack and said it was “a natural reaction to the Israeli crimes against civilians” in Gaza.
In another incident, a man on a motorbike opened fire at an Israeli soldier near Hebrew University, Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Rescue workers said the Israeli was severely wounded.
An eyewitness on Israel Channel 10 said he heard a gunshot and saw “a soldier holding his chest. He walked a few steps backwards and collapsed.”
International condemnation of Israel and Hamas
France is the latest country to condemn the Gaza operation and strikes on U.N.-run shelters in Gaza.
“How many deaths will it take to stop what has to be called the carnage in Gaza?” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius asked in a statement. He said while Israel has a right to total security, “this right does not justify the killing of children and the slaughter of civilians.” He also said Hamas carries an overwhelming responsibility in this “macabre gearing which particularly serves extremism.”
To date, 1,856 people have been killed in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Israeli officials have said 64 Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have died.
On Sunday, the United States and the United Nations used the strongest language yet in condemning the strike on a U.N.-run shelter in Gaza, with Washington calling the attack “disgraceful.”
At least nine people at the school, which was being used as a shelter for about 3,000 people, were killed in the shelling.
Israel said it is carefully reviewing the attack.
“No ordinance fell inside the school” Netanyahu spokesman Regev told CNN. “What happened yesterday we’re reviewing very carefully.”
The IDF said it targeted three Palestinian Islamic Jihad members riding a motorcycle in the vicinity of the school, but didn’t say if the suspected militants were hit.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a written statement that the attack was “yet another gross violation of international humanitarian law.” He called it a “moral outrage and a criminal act.”
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that the IDF should have known there was a U.N. installation with 3,000 people in the immediate neighborhood of the attack.
“This is almost city warfare, and using artillery, or in this case air attacks, is an extremely dangerous act,” Eliasson said.
The United States, in a statement issued by the State Department, said it was “appalled,” by deaths at the U.N. shelter.
“We once again stress that Israel must do more to meet its own standards and avoid civilian casualties,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a written statement. “The suspicion that militants are operating nearby does not justify strikes that put at risk the lives of so many innocent civilians.”
What’s next for Gaza?
Ambassador Riyad Mansour, Palestinian permanent observer to the U.N., praised the U.S. and U.N. condemnation of the strike near a U.N. school.
“We appreciate the strong statement yesterday from the U.S. administration and from the secretary-general about the crime committed against the U.N. school in Rafah,” he said on CNN’s “New Day.”
“We cannot go back to the status quo” in Gaza, Mansour said. “Let’s move in the direction of lifting the blockade, give people of Gaza hope.”
Mansour said he hopes Israel will soon decide to show up for negotiations in Cairo, Egypt. A Palestinian delegation arrived in Cairo over the weekend, the Egyptian state-run news agency MENA reported.
The delegation included representatives of Fatah and Palestinian intelligence, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the report said.
Israel is not sending a delegation to Cairo, said Paul Hirschson, a spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
By Susanna Capelouto and Tal Heinrich
CNN’s Saima Mohsin and Ali Younes contributed to this story