A few hours after U.S. efforts to reach a week-long ceasefire in Gaza failed, the leaders of both Israel and Hamas did manage to agree on a 12-hour suspension of hostilities in order to create a “humanitarian pause” in the fighting.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said early Saturday that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to stop the attacks in Gaza for 12 hours. Hamas militants later announce they will abide by the pause in order to remove the many dead and wounded who are still trapped under rubble in Gaza, The Washington Post reported.
“The whole world is watching tragic moment after tragic moment unfold and wondering when is everybody going to come to their senses,” Kerry said in Cairo.
Kerry pushed for a week-long truce that was scheduled to start this weekend to coincide with Eid-al Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the last day of Ramadan. However, members of the Israeli cabinet rejected this bid in order to discuss how to shift the negotiations more in their favor, The Daily Beast reported.
Michael Oren, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, said that Israel does not want Hamas to use a seven-day truce to send more rockets and fighters to Israel.
More than 800 Palestinians—80 percent of whom are civilians—and 35 Israelis have been killed since Israeli’s ground operations began on July 8.
The Israeli government faces little pressure from its populace to stop the assault. In fact, a majority of its people back their military’s assault, with some women even showing support by posting their semi-naked selfies on social media.
“We have had twice as many losses as we had in the last two operations [against Hamas in Gaza],” Netanyahu said. “There is a strong sense that we have to go on and pressure Hamas to reach a fundamental change, that Hamas needs to demilitarize.”