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Ceasefire falls apart in final hours with no renewal in sight
Published Wednesday 13/08/2014 (updated) 14/08/2014 00:33
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BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Three rockets from Gaza reportedly hit the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on Wednesday night as the midnight end of a three-day ceasefire loomed with no breakthrough in negotiations in Cairo in sight.

Soon after the three rockets hit Israel, an explosion was heard in Gaza. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri, however, denied that the group had fired any rockets.

Israeli Channel 2 TV station earlier reported an extension of the ceasefire between Israel and Gaza militants was accepted by the Israeli cabinet on Wednesday evening, after being proposed by Egypt earlier in the day.

Hamas has accused Israel of using the short-term extensions of the ceasefire as a stalling tactic as it refuses to consider any of the Palestinian demands for peace.

The Palestinian delegation to ongoing ceasefire talks in Cairo did not give any response to the proposal, and the delegation cancelled a press conference that was to be given at 9:30 p.m.

Earlier in the day, Israeli forces deployed across border areas near Gaza.

The move comes as negotiations have reached an impasse amid a five-week Israeli assault on Gaza that has left nearly 2,000 Palestinians dead and around 10,000 injured.

Israel pulled back from Gazan cities two weeks ago after suffering heavy losses in battles with Palestinian militant groups. Although it initially floated the idea of maintaining a military presence inside Gaza near the border, it subsequently pulled troops out of those areas as well.

Despite the withdrawal, no long-term ceasefire agreement has been reached, as Israel has refused to accede to Palestinian requests even as Israeli military force has so far failed to subdue resistance.

The Palestinian ceasefire delegation in Cairo has insisted that Israel end its eight-year siege on the Gaza Strip, release dozens of prisoners whom Israel has re-arrested that were released in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit exchange, the re-opening of a seaport and airport in Gaza, and the creation of a safe passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

These demands are consistent with the terms of the Oslo Accords signed between Israel and the Palestinians in the 1990s, but which Israel has failed to abide by amid its refusal to consider direct negotiations of any kind with Hamas, which it considers a terrorist group.

Israeli authorities have said that they would be willing to extend the ceasefire indefinitely but have also stressed that a long-term agreement should include the demilitarization of the Strip.

Palestinians have scoffed at this demand, saying it was al-Qassam fighters who prevented the full-scale infiltration and re-occupation of Gaza by Israeli forces in recent weeks.
1 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
13/08/2014 20:36
There you have it - any violation of the ceasefire tonight will AGAIN be by Hamas, who has been the first to break every ceasefire so fire. Remember that the goal of hamas is NOT to build peace and prosperity. They do not believe in it. The goal of Hamas is holy war, victory or martyrdom - they do NOT want peace (don't believe me? go look at their website because that's all that they say). The Gazans may be in for more hell courtesy of Hamas, whose purpose, like ISIL, is to make hell on earth.

2 ) Justice for Palestine / Canada
13/08/2014 21:21
If Israel does not lift the blockage and return stolen land and resources and make restitution for all the lives lost and injured by its horrific and brutal assaults then there can be no peace. Peace requires justice. Palestinians want justice and their rights like any other peoples and are prepared to defend themselves to achieve this. More and more of us in the global community are in solidarity and participating in the BDS. Our hearts are with Palestine in this very critical time of need.

3 ) AKeenReader / UK
13/08/2014 21:23
#1) Brian Cohen / Israel... why don't you look at Israeli right wing charter espeically Likuds about Arabs/ Palestinians. Stop pointing about Hamas website everytime to cover Israeli babarism. The proof of war crimes is there for the world to see and will come out by March '15 in the UNHRC report. You guys have now picked up words like ' Isis, Boko Haram etc etc just to frighten Israeli public. You can't fool us.

4 ) Mrs. Brieflets / United Kingdom
13/08/2014 21:31
@1, many thanks for your concise precis. I enjoy and appreciate your knowledgeable input, not like that Mel/USA rantings and his posts of mainly capitol letters.

5 ) Mathilde / France
13/08/2014 21:45
Dear Brian Cohen from "Israel", could you please go back where your grand-parents came from, i.e. USA, or France, or Maghreb, or Russia, or Eastern Europe, etc... and leave the Palestinians deal with the Hamas ? Thanks a lot in advance.

6 ) Maureen / Australia
13/08/2014 21:47
#1 Brian Cohen/Israeli military junta hasbara mouth piece. Remember Israel's goal is Palestinian genocide, apartheid, occupation, colonialist Zionist settlement building! Hypocrite!

7 ) guy / usa
13/08/2014 22:04
@ 1- you were right. one confirmed rocket launch and hit in the ashkkelon area.

8 ) David / USA
13/08/2014 22:29
"Stolen land?" Israel has no need or want of Gaza land and that's why Sharon kicked all the Israelis out of it 9 years ago. Left to their own devices, the 'Palestinians' rose to the occasion and turned Gaza into an armed camp, incapable of leaving Israel alone. The blockade was created 2 years after Hamas took over; only when it was caught red-handed importing heavy weapons. Hamas is responsible for every bad thing that has happened in Gaza. Hamas = criminal terrorist jihadists. Your 'leaders!'

9 ) Todd / Canada
13/08/2014 22:36
I don't know what is going on over there other than what I see in the news, but it does not look well for Hamas as they keep breaking these ceasefires. I hope everyone on both sides stay safe and that that we all has peace soon

10 ) Sarah / The Netherlands
13/08/2014 22:45
@1 Brian where were you? The zionists attacked fisherman yesterday and today, so who was starting violating the cease fire?

11 ) brain / Cape Town
13/08/2014 22:47
Brain Cohen go back to your home land. Israeli's wont allow Hamas to be successful. They don't want unity between the Palestinian people. The hole world is surporting the unity government. Israeli don't want peace. How many children did Israel killed during the last month more then 450. Child killers. How many innocent woman and men did the IDF killed. White flag killers.

12 ) Shalom / Canada
13/08/2014 22:53
YNet News reported the rocket(s) may have come from Sinai (not Gaza), as a child has sadly just been killed there from rocket fire and siblings injured. We are all praying that the ceasefire can be saved in the last moments, so much to gain, so much to lose. Thoughts are with you..

13 ) Deborah Droll / Gaza, Palestine
13/08/2014 23:03
Brian, I am an American/American living here in Gaza for 8 years. You have no idea as to what is going on here by the media. I don't even like to title any resistance with a name of a faction, Hamas, Jihad etc. all of them are resistance fighters in my eyes. The only ones trying to hold on to what little bit of land that the Jews have not stolen - yet! Palestinians deserve to be treated as human beings, they deserve rights, like everyone else on Earth. Why don't you get that?

14 ) David / USA
13/08/2014 23:06
So there it is: Hamas simply cannot say 'I won't launch rockets today.' What a bunch of homicidal jihadi psychopaths that don't give a damn as they take Gaza into the abyss. Is there nobody in Gaza brave enough to tell Hamas to 'STOP IT ALREADY! NO MORE ATTACKS ON ISRAEL!" Ma'an, are you MAN enough to tell Hamas to behave?

15 ) nate / usa
13/08/2014 23:19
Mathilda from France Brian can't go back to France where his parents come from because in France there are more Arabs than Frenchmen today, and they don't let Jews live there in peace.

16 ) Michael / Italy
13/08/2014 23:21
I just read the Hamas charter and was actually SHOCKED. Since they are calling for the complete DESTRUCTION of Israel and every Jew (anywhere) I totally understand why they are rated a terrorist state and Egypt made the right decision to close their border. If Hamas wants it open, let they go to war with Egypt. Thank you Egypt and Israel for doing the correct thing ---- keeping the border closed to Hamas.

17 ) Ann / USA
13/08/2014 23:33
Israel needs to wake up and do the right thing. Give the Palestinians back the stolen land, control the settlers, pay for rebuilding Gaza and allow free passage to the West Bank. Use the prisoners as a negotiating point...but come on Israel give these people a life.

18 ) mexica / mexico
13/08/2014 23:50
palestinians need a state free of racist colonialist settlers. NO STATE NO PEACE.

19 ) Jim Michie / USA
14/08/2014 00:26
If Israel lifts its blockade of Gaza and halts its seven-year siege by forcing at gunpoint Palestinians to remain in the world's largest concentration camp,withdraws its illegal, heavy-handed and all too often brutal occupation of East Jerusalem and West Bank, and halts its illegal and criminal confiscation and/or destruction of Palestinian villages, homes and property in East Jerusalem and West Bank, Israel can be assured of a lasting peace!
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