Israel’s security cabinet has rejected U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s proposal for a seven-day ceasefire in Gaza, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz is reporting.
According to The Washington Post, Kerry was offering “a temporary cease-fire lasting approximately seven days,” a deal “backed by United Nations and … the product of U.N., U.S., and Egyptian negotiators, with Turkey and Qatar acting as go-betweens with Hamas.”
Over the past few days, the rate of rocket fire from Gaza has declined, and the Israelis have destroyed dozens of cross-border tunnels, while scores of Hamas fighters have surrendered to Israeli forces. With potentially hundreds of its fighters dead and morale reportedly on the decline — and with the Israeli army fighting to the center of Gaza City — it’s possible that Israel doesn’t want to lose operational momentum in exchange for a temporary truce.
Israeli security sources also leaked information suggesting that Hamas was planning a major attack during the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah using its tunnel network.
According to Ha’aretz editor Chemi Shalev, the Israelis also rejected the deal out of concerns that it “upgraded Hamas … to equal negotiating partner.”
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