Israel, Hamas agree to 5 hour Gaza ‘humanitarian’ ceasefire

A girl cries as Palestinians flee their homes in the Shajaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City, after Israel had airdropped leaflets warning people to leave the area, Wednesday, (The Associated Press)
A girl cries as Palestinians flee their homes in the Shajaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City, after Israel had airdropped leaflets warning people to leave the area, Wednesday, (The Associated Press)

Israel and Hamas agreed to a five-hour U.N. brokered “humanitarian” pause to their 9-day-long battle, offering the most encouraging sign yet that the fierce fighting could come to an end.

Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has killed more than 200 Palestinians, including four boys struck on a beach Wednesday by shells fired from a navy ship. Israel said it would hold its fire Thursday from 10 a.m. under a plan to allow Palestinians to restock food, water and other necessities. But it vowed to retaliate “firmly and decisively” if Hamas or other militant groups launch attacks on Israel during that time.

Later, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said that following consultations with various factions the Gaza militants had decided to respect the pause as well and would refrain from firing rockets during those hours as well.

Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, had asked Israel to agree to a “unilateral humanitarian pause” so that the supplies can be delivered to Gaza, said UN deputy spokesman Farhan Haq. Serry will “urge the parties in Gaza to respect that pause,” Haq said.

U.S. supports Egypt’s ceasefire efforts

Israel previously had halted its fire for six hours Tuesday after Egypt put forward a cease-fire proposal that unravelled. Hamas official Sami Abu Zuhri said Wednesday his group had formally rejected the plan, bemoaning what he called little support from the Arab world.

But Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Wednesday in Cairo with a senior official from Hamas to try to salvage the Egyptian proposal.

In Washington, President Barack Obama said the U.S. supports Egypt’s continued efforts to restore the 2012 ceasefire and will use all of its diplomatic resources and relationships to secure a deal to end the violence.

Israel’s military said its forces bombed at least 150 targets in Gaza on Wednesday. It did not provide more specifics, but the Gaza Interior Ministry’s website said 30 houses, including those of senior Hamas leaders Mahmoud Zahar, Jamila Shanti, Fathi Hamas and Ismail Ashkar, were targeted.

A grieving Palestinian youth holds the dead body of his younger brother, one of four boys killed in an Israeli attack on a beach in Gaza City. Oliver Weiken/European Pressphoto Agency
A grieving Palestinian youth holds the dead body of his younger brother, one of four boys killed in an Israeli attack on a beach in Gaza City. Oliver Weiken/European Pressphoto Agency

Zahar was a key figure in Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza in 2007, while the other three were members of the Palestinian parliament elected in 2006. Many Hamas leaders have gone into hiding since Israel began its bombardment July 8 in response to rocket attacks from Gaza.

Gaza health official Ashraf al-Kidra said the Palestinian death toll rose to 222, with 1,670 wounded. Only one Israeli has so far died in the conflict — a civilian distributing food to soldiers in southern Israel on Tuesday evening — largely because of the effectiveness of Israel’s Iron Dome air defence system in downing incoming rockets.

‘It looked as if the shells were chasing them’

Earlier Wednesday, four Palestinian children were killed and one was critically wounded on a Gaza beach by a shell fired by an Israeli naval gunboat, a Palestinian health official said, as Palestinian militants fired a further 70 rockets into Israel.

Asked about the incident, an Israeli military spokesman in Tel Aviv said he was checking the report.

“The kids were playing football on the beach. They were all … under the age of 15,” said Ahmed Abu Hassera, who said he witnessed the incident at the shore in Gaza.

“When the first shell hit the land, they ran away but another shell hit them all,” said the 22-year-old, whose shirt was stained with blood.

“It looked as if the shells were chasing them,” he told Reuters.

Ashraf al-Qidra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry, said four of the youngsters were killed and a fifth youth was in critical condition. The four killed were all cousins aged nine to 11, he said, calling the strike “a cowardly crime.”

The Gaza beach area has been shelled frequently since Israel began its offensive in the enclave on July 8 following a surge in Palestinian cross-border rocket strikes.

Israeli airstrikes targeted senior Hamas leaders on Wednesday. The Palestinian death toll now stands at 204, according to health officials in Gaza. (Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

The Israeli military said on Wednesday it has agreed to a UN-brokered five-hour pause in its strikes on the Gaza Strip to allow Palestinians to restock supplies.

The military said in a statement that it would hold its fire for five hours starting at 10:00 a.m.

It warns however that it will retaliate “firmly and decisively” if Hamas or other militant groups launch attacks on Israel during that time.

Earlier, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Hamas had shut the door to a diplomatic solution to the Gaza conflict. Netanyahu met earlier with Italy’s foreign minister Federica Mogherini in Jerusalem.

“Hamas just shut the door to a diplomatic solution and therefore bears the sole responsibility for the continuation of the violence that’s responsible for the civilian deaths and innocent deaths of Palestinians that it uses as human shields,” Netanyahu said.

Egyptian ceasefire proposal definitively rejected

Gaza health officials said 207 Palestinians, most of them civilians, had been killed in air and naval barrages, in the worst flareup of Israeli-Palestinian violence in two years.

One Israeli has been killed by shelling from Gaza that has made a race to shelter a daily routine for hundreds of thousands in Israel.

A senior Hamas official said Wednesday that the Islamic militant group has formally closed the door on the Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire aimed at ending the conflict with Israel.

Sami Abu Zuhri said in a text message to The Associated Press that the group “informed Cairo today officially that we don’t accept the proposal they made.”

The Egyptian proposal had called for a halt in hostilities by Tuesday night to be followed by talks on the terms of a longer-term ceasefire, including easing Gaza’s seven-year-old border blockade by Israel and Egypt.

Israel had held out hope that the ceasefire deal plan could be salvaged, but Abu Zuhri said it has been definitively rejected.

Israel accepted the proposal and briefly halted airstrikes Tuesday, but it has renewed them as Palestinian militants continued firing rockets at its territory.





12 responses to “Israel, Hamas agree to 5 hour Gaza ‘humanitarian’ ceasefire”

  1. two hours into the cease fire- 3 rockets shot from Gaza into Israel.
    Hamas has only 4 hours left to convince us it can keep it’s word

    1. Btru2u Avatar

      Zionist lies pile up, they claim these massacres are a counter strike, when in reality it is far from it, they are using the same lies over and over again, it is a repetition, the world should see it by now. Let’s look at past bombardments of mass prison called Gaza:

      As in every vicious military offensive Israel carries out in Gaza, the dominant narrative is that it is a response to rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel. This is how it’s being reported in the US, and this is how virtually every American understands it.

      And it’s a lie.

      It’s true that on Saturday, prior to the expanded Israeli bombardment, the military wing of the Popular Front For the Liberation of Palestine shot an anti-tank missile at an Israeli Defense Forces vehicle near the Gaza border, wounding four Israeli soldiers. But what prompted the firing of the anti-tank missile?

      First, on Monday, November 5th, Israeli forces shot and killed 23 year old Ahmad Nabhani when he “approached the border fence with Israel.” According to at least one account, Nabhani was mentally challenged.

      1. huh??
        i’m realy impresed by your ability to lie to yourself in such a way you acctually believe your own lies lol
        btw, cease fire ended at 15:00 ,again it was Hamas who fired.
        i guess they will not stop till we get serious and really hit Gaza..mind you, i will not apologize for future killing but will answer the same answer over and over again..”it’s the Hamas fault the people of Gaza are dieing”
        and yes i know you hate to hear that but no, it doesn’t change reality

        1. 5thDrawer Avatar

          I think you guys are working different ‘time-frames’ and ‘incidents’ but carry on. Everyone else does.

        2. The real lebanese Avatar
          The real lebanese

          Hamas wont get serious. They hide in compartments under their houses so they are completely safe from even a direct missile attack. Thats the reason the only Hamas members who have died are the militants lingering around launch sites.

    2. Btru2u Avatar

      Then, on Thursday, November 8th, the Israeli Occupation Forces – eight tanks and four bulldozers, to be exact – invaded southern Gaza, shooting and killing a 13-year old boy. Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (via):

      According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 16:30 on Thursday, as a result of the indiscriminate shooting by IOF military vehicles that had moved into the ‘Abassan village, 13-year-old Ahmed Younis Khader Abu Daqqa was seriously wounded by a bullet to the abdomen. At the time he was shot, Ahmed had been playing football with his friends in front of his family’s house, located nearly 1,200 meters away from the area where the IOF were present.

      So, even if honest observers brush to the side the cruel and inhumane Israeli blockade on Gaza and refuse to let it influence the equation of exactly which side started this flare up of violence, it is clear Israel started this latest clash. And in response to the response, Israel has waged a harsh, disproportionate military assault.

      This would be a simple thing to understand if, for example, Western media bothered to ask the other side what happened. Palestinian news media immediately reported that the anti-tank missile Israel was supposedly responding to was admitted to by the Popular Resistance Committees, who described it as “revenge” for preceding Israeli violence on Gaza. But that basic task of honest journalism is apparently out of the question.
      Every single Israeli incursion or attack on Gaza is accompanied by the same narrative: Israel fairly responded to unprovoked Palestinian rocket fire. The last major war on Gaza, Operation Cast Lead in December ’08-January ’09, also carried this narrative. Israel committed war crimes in that one-sided conflict, targeting and killing hundreds of civilians, using indiscriminate weapons, and intentionally destroying civilian infrastructure. It has become an accepted fact – even among critics of Israel – that the offensive was a response to Hamas rocket fire. The rocket fire did indeed occur immediately before the assault, but it was in response to Israel’s breaking of the six-month cease-fire, which even Israeli officials in WikiLeaks cables admitted Hamas had kept to.

      1. so we don’t argue on non relevant issues:
        1. Hamas rejected the ceasefire egypt proposed
        2. Hamas fired 3 rockets at 10:00 AM today and broke the ceasefire again

    3. sweetvirgo Avatar

      Fat chance of that happening. Hamas does what it wants to do…there are no rules for them.

      1. they will understand in the end that the best way to get out of the mes they are in is to play ball.
        but i think what will happen is that they keep shooting and we keep shooting and in the end ,the people of Gaza will throw them out

        1. sweetvirgo Avatar

          I don’t think the people of Gaza will throw them out. Remember they can’t stand Israel and Hamas wants to destroy Israel. I think that most not all of the people believe that hamas will provide for them. Hamas has brainwashed them. So many young youths join hamas because they believe it’s their duty to fight for their country.

  2. 5thDrawer Avatar

    The Gun-Boat ‘diplomacy’?
    ‘Hey Zipple … Lob a couple shells near that hotel .. it’s got journalists in it. They need a show.’

  3. Maborlz Ez-Hari Avatar
    Maborlz Ez-Hari

    The world needs to become wary of the jew. The errors of their suposed supremacy are multiplying at a rate too high not to be noticed even by the ones with their heads in the sand.

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