[Ed. – Taking bets on whether Hamas actually stops firing rockets into Israel.]
Israel and Hamas announced a 12-hour humanitarian cease fire in Gaza for Saturday, only hours after Israel’s security cabinet unanimously rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposal for a temporary cease fire to allow indirect talks.
The move also followed an escalation of deadly clashes Friday and the Israeli defense minister’s statement that Israel may significantly widen its ground operation in Gaza.
In announcing late Friday that it would observe the “humanitarian window” from 8a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Israel said that during that time “we’ll continue to locate and neutralize terror tunnels.”
It also warned the military “shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit” the lull to attack Israeli troops “or fire at Israeli civilians.”
A Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, said earlier Friday that the group had agreed to a 12-hour lull, starting at 8 a.m.
Kerry’s proposal called for a temporary truce to make time for Israel and Hamas to hold indirect talks about easing the border closure of the blockaded Gaza Strip. Hamas has demanded that Gaza’s crossings be opened.
Israel TV reported that on Friday evening, Israel’s Security Cabinet — which groups top ministers on security issues — rejected the proposal in its current form, mainly because it would mean Israel has to cut short an ongoing effort to destroy Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.