Netanyahu: Hamas Violating Its Own Cease-Fire

July 27, 2014

Updated at 11:05 a.m. ET.

Israeli Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu says there’s no question of accepting a 24-hour truce in Gaza to pause fighting for the Eid holiday because Hamas has already violated its own cease-fire.

“Hamas doesn’t even accept its own cease-fire, it’s continuing to fire at us as we speak,” Netanyahu tells CNN, adding that Israel “will take what ever action is necessary to protect our people.”

On CBS’ Face the Nation, Netanyahu accused the Palestinians of using civilians as “human shields” and that despite growing concern over the more than 1,000 Palestinians killed in the 19-day offensive, Israel would not flinch from the operation. Israel says 45 of its citizens, mostly soldiers, have been killed in the fighting.

He said Israel is not targeting civilians but that Hamas wants a high civilian body count as a propaganda tool for international media.

Daniel Estrin, reporting from Jerusalem for NPR, says “Initially, Israel was adhering to a 24 hour ceasefire of its own, but called it off after Hamas fired rockets.”

The Israeli Defense Forces resumed fighting in the Gaza Strip Sunday morning, ending their offer of a day-long extension to a humanitarian cease-fire; hours later, Hamas has declared a new truce.

Israel’s security cabinet decided to extend Saturday’s cease-fire for 24 hours, but the military resumed its offensive Sunday morning, Reuters reports, saying Hamas rocket fire was “incessant” overnight.

Earlier, a Hamas spokesman said that Islamic militants had agreed to a 24-hour cease-fire.

“Based on UN request and because of the circumstances (ie: difficult circumstances) of our people and because of Eid, the resistance factions (ie: Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other minor militant groups) have agreed on a humanitarian ceasefire for 24 hours beginning today at 2 PM,” or 7 a.m. ET, spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri announced on Facebook.

Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan, is expected to begin Monday.

The initial 12-hour cease-fire had begun on Saturday morning, giving Gaza residents the chance to stock up on supplies after a nearly three-week Israeli offensive against Hamas militants. Israel then offered a four-hour extension, which Hamas rejected.

Hamas resumed attacks shortly after the initial cease-fire expired at 1 p.m. ET Saturday (8 p.m. Israeli time), firing rockets and mortars at several communities in southern Israel, as NPR’s Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson reported from Jerusalem.

Then late Saturday night, Israel’s security cabinet voted to extend the cease-fire for an additional 24 hours, until midnight Israeli time on Sunday. But as NPR’s Emily Harris reported from Gaza, Hamas did not accept the terms of the truce.

“An Israeli government official said troops will remain in Gaza during an extended cease-fire and will keep destroying tunnels, weapons and other infrastructure used by militant groups,” Harris reported for our Newscast unit. “Hamas’ spokesman said in a statement it will not accept any cease-fire that doesn’t include Israeli troops withdrawing from Gaza.”

Israel, meanwhile, will only accept a cease-fire that allows soldiers to remain in Gaza and destroy dozens of tunnels the IDF has located, reports The Associated Press.

The IDF says that after midnight Saturday, during the proposed truce extension, about a dozen rockets were fired toward Israel; the rockets caused no casualties or damage, according to the AP.

In addition to the rocket fire, Israel’s military says one of their soldiers was killed by a mortar during the cease-fire, Reuters reports. In total, IDF reports 43 Israeli soldiers killed in the conflict and three civilians.

Gaza officials count at least 1,050 Palestinians who have died in the 20 days since the conflict began.

Secretary of State John Kerry is meeting with European foreign ministers in Paris in an attempt to negotiate a more lasting cease-fire, according to the AP.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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