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JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel agreed Saturday to extend a 12-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza war by four hours, a Cabinet minister said. In Gaza, a health official said the Palestinian death toll in 19 days of fighting had surpassed 1,000.
The Cabinet minister, Yuval Steinitz, said a further extension of the humanitarian truce would be considered when the Israeli Security Cabinet meets later Saturday, after the end of the Jewish Sabbath.
In Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met with European foreign ministers to find ways of building on Saturday's lull, the longest so far since Israel-Hamas fighting erupted July 8.
The top United Nations envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, urged the sides to halt their fire for an additional 24 hours.
On Friday, Israel had rejected a proposal by Kerry and U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon to halt fire for a week and to begin talks during this period on easing the border blockade of Hamas-ruled Gaza.
Hamas has said it would not halt fire until it won guarantees that the border blockade, enforced by Israel and Egypt, would be lifted.
Under a gradual extension of a humanitarian truce, Israel would not be required to discuss new border arrangements in Gaza. It would also have a freer hand in continuing to demolish Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border, as it has done in recent days.
A Hamas spokesman, Mushir al-Masri, speaking before the Israeli decision, said that the group would consider an extension of the truce as long as "it does not mean that we retreat from our known demands."
Meanwhile, the Palestinian death toll rose above 1,000, as an additional 132 bodies were retrieved from the rubble during Saturday's humanitarian truce, Palestinian health official Asraf al-Kidra said.
More than 6,000 Palestinians have been wounded in the past 19 days, hundreds of homes have been destroyed and tens of thousands of Palestinians displaced.
Israel says it is doing its utmost to prevent civilian casualties, including sending evacuation warnings to residents in targeted areas, and blames Hamas for putting civilians in harm's way.
Israel has lost 40 soldiers and two civilians. A Thai worker in Israel also has been killed.
Laub reported from Gaza City. Associated Press writers Yousur Alhlou in Jerusalem and Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, contributed to this report.
Israel is bending over backward with these pieces of crap and still the Liberal democrats can't help themselves but criticize our allies to benefit the terrorists...nice going.
obama and Kerry should be ashamed of themselves! What is the difference between Hitler's missile barrage of Britain in WW 2 and Hamas shooting indiscriminate missiles into Israel????Some of you seem to forget that an Arab/Israeli boy was killed by a Hamas missile.Then 3 Israeli teens were kidnapped by Hamas.One Palestinian teen was killed bt Israeli zealots.Israel launched an immediate investigation into the atrocity.Did anyone in Hamas do anything to investigate the murder of the 4 Israeli teens????about 9 years ago the Israeli Armed Forces Removed all Israeli settlers from Gaza and returned it to the so-called Palestinians so they could have an autonomous HOMELAND AS A PEACE GESTURE. What did they get for their effort at Peace???????A constant barrage of missiles from Gaza.Does Hamas drop leaflets and call the phones of civilians in their target area?????You bigoted/racists who blame Israel need to start thinking for yourselves.
Israel has every right to defend itself and since Hamas has been firing upon Israel then Israel has finally stopped being controlled by the western world and will defend itself, what would you do if being fired upon. Israel should end this war so as to not have future bloodshed and destruction, when we were attacked on 911 it was Palestine who cheered in the streets now I cheer every time they are hit, if they want to allow Hamas to control the people and use them as shields then if the shoe fits wear it. God bless Israel!!
Finish the job Israel, finish the job.Make these cockroaches B-E-G for mercy. Humiliate the crap out of them.Show these "innocent Palestinians" that they hitched their wagon to the wrong horse.
Does anybody really care what hillery thinks
Al Jazeera was started and is maintained by the State of Qatar, an Arab emirate in the Persian Gulf. Qatar is the home of the largest American military base in the Middle East, and the home of the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. Qatar is also the largest and main financier of Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist organization that currently is in a fight to the death with the Jewish State of Israel.The operating budget of Hamas is estimated to be around $1 billion. In 2012, Qatar pledged $400 million to the territory of Gaza for humanitarian relief, but much of it found its way into Hamas control. Recently, the United States blocked a large, multi-million dollar payment through an Arab bank to Hamas from Qatar for administrative costs and civil service salaries.Israel needs to wipe Hamas off the face of the earth.
Seems to me, I wouldn't go slap a hornets nest with a fly swatter, or throw pebbles at a pit bull. Yet Hamas continues year after year to fire rockets into Israel and then whine when they strike back. The residents in Gaza are like many of the black neighborhoods, in that they know who criminals are, and what they are doing, but they either support them, or just turn a blind eye to them. If you let a Hamas fighter set up and fire rockets from your living room, you deserve what you get.
Hamas should have used all that concrete to build houses and hotels, instead they choose to build tunnels to terrorize Israel. All the civilian casualties in Gaza is blood on Hamas's hands and that is what they want, dead Palestinians on CNN. They could care less about their own people. Hamas is targeting Israeli civilians and just because Israel has the technology to stop the the indiscriminate murder of Israelis. Israel is NOT targeting civilians. If they were they could kill 1000 per hour. They don't want to be in Gaza or risk their solldiers but they have not choice. If Hamas made peace with Israel they would have a country that could prosper, have agriculture and even tourism to its Mediteranean beaches. Their pre occupation with the destruction of the Jewish State is ridiculous already. Israel is not going anywhere. Israel pulled out of Gaza and left it to the Palestinians to govern and what did Israel get.....Rockets.
OK you got 12 hours to get your ass out of the way. And yes..Hamas will fire Rockets....and yes..Israel will absorb the attacks.But Hamas had better hang onto their ass win the 13th hour comes...All the Israeli military is restocking...cleaning barrels...doing check ups on the air crafts...
Shame on Hamas...Using kids as human shields.