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Israel accepts Egypt's Gaza cease-fire proposal

JERUSALEM (AP) -- Israel has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a new 72-hour cease-fire with Gaza militants.

The move clears the way for the resumption of indirect talks on a long-term cease-fire arrangement in Hamas-ruled Gaza after a month of heavy fighting.

Egypt brokered a similar truce last week. But after the three-day window, militants resumed rocket fire on Israel and new fighting erupted.

The Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, said they accepted Egypt's latest offer Sunday. But they said they were wary after last week's breakdown.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Egypt has called on Israel and Palestinian factions to observe a 72-hour cease-fire beginning within hours, and to resume talks on a more comprehensive Gaza agreement.

The announcement Sunday by Egypt's Foreign Ministry comes after hours of talks with Palestinian factions in Cairo in which they accepted the proposal. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the announcement would not have been made if the cease-fire agreement was not secured, indicating that Israel had also accepted the proposal.

The statement said the cease-fire would begin at midnight Cairo time (2101 GMT) and would create the atmosphere to resume humanitarian aid as well as indirect talks, through Egypt, to reach a more lasting and comprehensive cease-fire.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Palestinian negotiators on Sunday said they had accepted an Egyptian proposal for a new 72-hour truce with Israel, clearing the way for a possible resumption of talks on a long-term cease-fire arrangement in the Gaza Strip.

Israel had walked away from cease-fire talks over the weekend, after militants resumed their rocket fire on southern Israel with the expiration of an earlier three-day truce. Sunday's decision was aimed at bringing the Israelis back to the negotiations.

"We are here to look for an agreement. We cannot have an agreement without talks, so we accepted an Egyptian proposal to have a cease-fire for 72 hours in order to resume the talks," said a Palestinian negotiator.

He, along with other Palestinian negotiators who confirmed the decision, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations with the media.

There was no immediate Israeli response. But already there were signs that the Palestinian delegation was softening earlier demands for a full lifting of the Israeli and Egyptian blockade on Gaza.

The Egyptian-mediated talks are aimed at reaching a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas following the heaviest fighting between the bitter enemies since Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

In nearly a month of fighting, more than 1,900 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of civilians, nearly 10,000 were wounded and thousands of homes were destroyed. Sixty-seven people were killed on the Israeli side, including three civilians.

The fighting ended in a 72-hour cease-fire last Tuesday, during which Egypt had hoped to mediate a longer-term agreement. But when the three-day window expired, militants resumed their rocket fire, sparking Israeli reprisals. The violence has continued throughout the weekend, albeit at a lower level than during the height of the war.

Earlier Sunday, Palestinians threatened to quit the negotiations if Israel did not return, while Israeli leaders said there would be no talks while the rocket fire continues.

"Israel will not negotiate under fire," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, warning that his country's military campaign "will take time."

The Israeli military said rocket fire continued throughout the day, with at least 24 projectiles fired into Israel. Israel responded with some 35 airstrikes, the military said.

Gaza officials said at least three people, including a 14-year-old boy and a woman, were killed in the airstrikes. Israel said it closed a main cargo crossing used to deliver goods into Gaza in response to rocket fire.

Hamas is seeking an end to an Israeli-Egyptian blockade that has been in place in varying forms for seven years and decimated the local economy.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent arms smuggling, and it says Hamas must disarm as part of any long-term arrangement. Hamas has said handing over its arsenal, which is believed to include several thousand remaining rockets, is inconceivable.

The blockade has greatly limited the movement of Palestinians in and out of the impoverished territory of 1.8 million people for jobs and study abroad. It has also limited the flow of goods into Gaza, and blocked virtually all of Gaza's exports.

An Egyptian crackdown on a network of smuggling tunnels along Gaza's southern border has made things even tougher by robbing Hamas of its key economic pipeline and weapons conduit. As a result, Gaza's economy is in the doldrums, with an unemployment rate above 50 percent and Hamas unable to pay the salaries of tens of thousands of workers.

A senior Palestinian negotiator acknowledged that the Palestinians would make more modest demands if cease-fire talks resume. He said they will seek an end to the bloodshed in Gaza, internationally backed efforts to rebuild and an easing - but not an end - to the blockade.

"We might not get everything we want, particularly on freedom of movement. But we believe the Israelis and the world have gotten the point that Gazans should live normally and things should be much better than today," said one negotiator.

An easing of the blockade would mean an increased role for Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, whose forces were ousted in the Hamas takeover seven years ago. Officials said that the rival Palestinian factions were already exploring options that would give Abbas a foothold in Gaza, including the likely control of its border crossing with Egypt.

At a minimum, though, Israel will want guarantees that the rocket fire will stop. A cease-fire that ended a weeklong round of fighting in 2012 promised an easing of the blockade, but was never implemented - in part because of sporadic rocket attacks by various armed factions in Gaza.

Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Hamas could get the blockade lifted by accepting longstanding international demands to renounce violence and recognize Israel's right to exist.

"Basically what they are trying now to do is not to lift the blockade," she told a news conference. "They want to get legitimacy as a terrorist organization, without accepting the requirements of the international community."

The current Gaza war escalated from the abduction and killing of three Israeli teens in the West Bank in June. Israel blamed the killings on Hamas and launched a massive arrest campaign, rounding up hundreds of its members in the West Bank, as Hamas and other militants unleashed rocket fire from Gaza.

On July 8, Israel launched an air campaign on the coastal territory, sending in ground troops nine days later to target rocket launchers and cross-border tunnels built by Hamas for attacks inside Israel.

In the West Bank, Palestinian health officials said an 11-year-old boy was shot and killed by Israeli forces in a refugee camp near the city of Hebron.

Witnesses and relatives of the boy said Israeli security forces opened fire after a military vehicle was hit by stone throwers. They said the boy was standing on the road in front of his home at the time.

The military said its forces encountered a "violent riot" and opened fire toward the protesters in the refugee camp. The military acknowledged that the boy was killed in the violence and said it was investigating.

Earlier Sunday, vandals torched a car in the Palestinian village of Kafr Yasuf in the West Bank and sprayed Hebrew graffiti that read "price tag," Israeli police said. The phrase is commonly used by Jewish extremists in attacks on Palestinians or their property. Such acts have been widely condemned by Israeli leaders.

Join the discussion

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airamrka August 10 2014 at 2:15 PM

Big mistake on Israel's part. They should continue until they've killed everyone connected to Hamas - - - babies through great great grandparents.

Flag Reply +38 rate up
17 replies
anderson August 10 2014 at 2:35 PM

Not only does AOL and Huffypostits think we are stupid, they WRITE like we are.........a bunch of college students trying to make their way in cyberjouralism..........just about as stupid as our commandress in chief, Barry Osama Mohammad Obameee trying to make his way in OUR White House and on the international stage, without a clue what a "foreign policy" is all about.

Israel should take this 72 hours to get the coordinates on some very strategic Humas bunkers, and as soon as they fire ONE more rocket, Israel unleashes major "carpet bombing" and sends these camel traders back a couple of thousand years.......

Flag Reply +35 rate up
15 replies
buddwhyzr August 10 2014 at 2:19 PM

As long as Hamas has rockets, RPG's, guns or even rocks to throw------They will NEVER stop. Best of luck on this daily failed cease fire fantasy.

Flag Reply +33 rate up
3 replies
gtpic August 10 2014 at 1:49 PM

again the aol slanted photos .do they think americans r stupid?

Flag Reply +23 rate up
12 replies
frankiegallo33 August 10 2014 at 3:31 PM

I wouldn't have anything to do with this truce if Kerry had anything to do with it.
Obama wants to strengthen Iran by weakening Israel.
His top #1 adviser is Iranian born.
Look her up and google her family.
See for yourself.
See why so many have left his administration. Open your eyes.

Flag Reply +20 rate up
2 replies
ssteve99710 frankiegallo33 August 10 2014 at 3:34 PM

Well most of the policy advisers are jewish.
Are we to say they are influencing American policy and tilt towards Israel. it goes both ways buddy. Everyone can play this low level slime ball game. If you pick a person's orgin as Iranian, well there are lot of Jews with Israel background.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
frankiegallo33 ssteve99710 August 10 2014 at 5:51 PM

Look up Valerie Jarrett and then see if you still wanna drink the kool-aid.

Flag +1 rate up
william_crawford28 frankiegallo33 August 10 2014 at 3:50 PM

The space alien's are coming, quick grab your tin hat!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
MERLIN August 10 2014 at 3:31 PM

talk is a waste of time. islam is a religion that corrodes your brain

Flag Reply +19 rate up
2 replies
ssteve99710 MERLIN August 10 2014 at 3:47 PM

EVery religion has its share of nut cases.
More in Islam than others..seems like

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Howard86044 MERLIN August 10 2014 at 11:08 PM

MERLIN, Christianity corrodes your brain. I look at all the Black women who have gone nuts hating Black men. According to her her God is a White man and a Black man can never be like her White God. Corrosion? I am 67 and have watched this all my life. Even Black ****** are Christian, ask them. So I would suggest you learn about Islam before making a comment about it. Its another religion just like the Christians who killed Black people bringing them from Africa.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
barryaclarke August 10 2014 at 3:24 PM

I wonder if Hamas as a few tunnels that still need to be dug out for a few more feet? There is always a reason why these Palestinian militants want a lull in fighting. Or maybe the are expecting a new shipment of rockets from Iran.................

Flag Reply +19 rate up
1 reply
bestintravel barryaclarke August 10 2014 at 4:34 PM

Yes, Reagan's comments come to mind. Trust, but verify.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Douglas Aurand August 10 2014 at 2:02 PM

Lets see if I get this; Israel agrees to a ceasefire for some number of hours, finally Hams agrees, then Hamas breaks the ceasefire.
Seems to be a trend?

Flag Reply +19 rate up
2 replies
shelbuchman Douglas Aurand August 11 2014 at 12:25 AM

STEVE WHO LIVES IN FAIRBANKS ALASKA.
OH BOY DO I KNOW WHERE YOU ARE
COMING FROM. 500 JEWS IN A CITY OF
51,000 AND A DISPROPORTIONATE
NUMBER OF GRADUATE DEGREES.
ALSO 2 IN STATE LEGISLATURE
A STATE JUDGE
STATE SENATOR
DISTRICT JUDGE
US CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE
MANY PROFESSIORS AT THE STATE
UNIVERSITY. IS IT JEALOUSY OR
ANTI-SEMITISM?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
wizardsking August 10 2014 at 3:09 PM

If Hamas continues israel needs to change course and stop being so polite to its enemies and launch an expect no mercy fierce attack on Gaza.An All Out no barred DFA (Death from Above)

Flag Reply +18 rate up
3 replies
samnakib August 10 2014 at 3:29 PM

Wishing all of the people there Peace, prosperity, and coexistence.
Amen

Flag Reply +9 rate up
5 replies
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