Israel’s Security Cabinet has approved a cease-fire plan proposed by Egypt aimed at ending a week of conflict in and around the Gaza Strip.
Israeli officials said the proposed truce was voted on at Israel’s military headquarters in Tel Aviv minutes before it was due to take effect at 2 a.m. Eastern Time Tuesday.
There was no immediate word from the Islamic militant group Hamas about whether they would accept the proposal. Earlier Tuesday, the group’s armed wing reportedly vowed to reject the cease-fire, saying on its official website that it was “an initiative of kneeling and submission.” The statement from the al-Qassam Brigades vowed that “our battle with the enemy continues, and will increase in ferocity and intensity.”
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry announced the three-step plan starting at 9 a.m. (2 a.m. Eastern Time) Tuesday with a cease-fire to go into effect within 12 hours of “unconditional acceptance” by the two sides. That would be followed by the opening of Gaza’s border crossings and talks in Cairo between the sides within two days, according to the statement.
Israel’s cabinet is reportedly set to meet on Tuesday to discuss the proposal. Tel Aviv has ignored the UN’s call for a truce and is continuing its airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
Israel continued to pound Gaza on Monday for the seventh straight day. The overall death toll from seven days of Israeli attacks on the coastal enclave has risen to nearly 190. The Israeli military began its latest assault on Gaza last Tuesday, July 8.
More than 1,280 Palestinians have also been injured as a result of the ongoing assaults.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the Tel Aviv regime will not stop its attacks on Gaza.
Gaza has been blockaded since June 2007. The blockade has caused a decline in the standards of living, unprecedented levels of unemployment, and unrelenting poverty.