A humanitarian cease-fire lasting 12 hours could begin in Gaza on Saturday, as Hamas says it has agreed to a temporary peace and Israeli media are reporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has also approved the plan. The truce would allow Palestinian civilians to get food and aid where it’s needed, officials say.
“There is a national (Palestinian) agreement on humanitarian ceasefire through the UN on Saturday” for 12 hours, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri posted on his Facebook page, according to NPR’s Emily Harris, who’s in Gaza.
Citing a senior official, Israeli newspaper Haaretz says Netanyahu has told U.S. and U.N. officials that Israel will begin a 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire.
News of the truce comes after prolonged U.S. attempts Friday to broker a lasting peace deal between the two sides who have been fighting for more than two weeks.
Emily reports for our Newscast unit:
“Secretary of State John Kerry left Cairo after a day of negotiations, saying he has the basic outlines of a longer truce. He’ll continue negotiations with various parties in Paris on Saturday.
“Israel says a longer-term cease-fire must include destroying tunnels Hamas built to sneak in to Israel. Hamas wants an end to the economic blockade Israel and Egypt impose on the Gaza Strip.
“Regardless of intentions for Saturday, late Friday night, strikes in the Gaza Strip continued.
“The number of dead on both sides rose Friday, as Israel announced one more soldier had been killed and another previously categorized as missing was dead. Palestinian health officials said the death toll in Gaza had passed 850 people.”
Earlier Friday, Kerry rejected talk of Israel rejecting a U.S.-brokered truce as “mischief” from people who don’t want the hostilities to end.
“They may have rejected some language or suggestion, but there was no formal proposal submitted by me on which a vote was ripe,” Kerry said.
According to the BBC, reports of Saturday’s 12-hour truce came “shortly after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon warned that ground operations in Gaza could soon be broadened ‘significantly.’ ”