Israel Rejects Secretary Kerry’s Truce Proposal

Three kilometer buffer zone in the Gaza Strip that the Israeli army has designated a no-go zone. Image-VOA
Three kilometer buffer zone in the Gaza Strip that the Israeli army has designated a no-go zone. Image-VOA

After more than two weeks of fighting between the Israeli army and Hamas militants, Israel announced that it rejects U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry’s proposal for a cease-fire.

The Israeli government said that they are seeking modifications to the proposal before they agree on any proposal to cease hostilities on the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the death toll rises for the Palestinian civilians on the strip. numbers have reached well over 800 since the fighting began a little over two weeks ago.

Kerry’s plan would have halted the hostilities on Sunday, the day that marks the holiday of Eid that signifies the end of the holy month of Ramadan. The truce, had it been accepted, called for a week-long period of no conflict.

During that week, Israel and Hamas would have met in Cairo for indirect talks. The talks would have been indirect because Israel does not negotiate directly with the militant Palestinian group Hamas. During the negotiations, economic,security and political issues would have been discussed.

While Israel outright rejected the truce, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal voiced support for it, but only if Israel eased restrictions on the approximately 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon stated he was “appalled” by the shelling of a U.N. run school on the strip that had been used as a shelter from the violence. Victims in the shelling included women, children and U.N. staff. Two other U.N. shelters have also been shelled. Although Israel did not take responsibility for the attacks, they did say that they were fighting in the area.

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In addition to the 800 civilians killed in the recent chapter of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, thousands more have been injured. scores of hospitals and clinics have been destroyed and thousands of homes leveled.

The collapse of the nine-month effort to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians was sparked by a reconciliation between Hamas and the Fatah, which controls the West Bank. When the two Palestinian parties came to an agreement, it angered Israel and the present conflict broke out. Many Israeli officials say that this conflict will not end until Hamas is utterly destroyed.

Destruction of the Hamas group is not imminent, this recent bout of fighting has only increased support for the militant group on the strip.