The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Saturday, the 19th day of Operation Protective Edge. Israel’s government on Friday unanimously rejected a ceasefire offer advanced by US Secretary of State John Kerry, with sources saying it was tilted towards Hamas. A humanitarian truce was unilaterally ended by Hamas on Saturday night. West Bank violence escalated Friday, with six Palestinians reported killed in riots. With the Gaza death toll said to reach 1,000, Israeli military sources noted that several hundred Hamas gunmen are among those killed. The IDF death toll rose to 42 by Saturday night. (Sunday’s liveblog is here.)
You can also follow @TOIAlerts on Twitter — we’re live-tweeting all the updates there as well.
Day 19 of Operation Protective Edge
The past 24 hours have been tumultuous even by the standards of the previous days of Israel’s war with Hamas.
Yesterday ended in Israel with the government openly at odds with Secretary Kerry, after ministers voted unanimously against his ceasefire proposal. And there was confusion about whether a 12-hour truce would go into effect today.
Fighting in Gaza was intensive, with two IDF soldiers killed — one, Guy Levy, by an anti-tank missile fired from near a UN school, Israel said. The Gaza death toll rose inexorably.
In the West Bank, after Hamas urged protests, a series of clashes and confrontations left six Palestinians reported killed.
And 80 rockets were fired into Israel.
We’ll keep you updated on how things play out from now on.
Rioting Taibe residents burn tires, flags
Route 444 is blocked outside Taibe as rioting youths burn tires and Israeli flags at the entrance to the city.
The route is blocked between the Tzur Yitzhak junction and the intersection with Route 57.
Police are deployed to the scene in large numbers.
Israel, Kerry openly at odds over ceasefire
As we reported late Friday, Israel and the United States are now in open disagreement, after the Israeli cabinet unanimously rejected the ceasefire offer drawn up by Kerry to halt 18 days of Israeli-Hamas conflict.
Kerry, speaking in Cairo, vowed to keep working on a ceasefire, and said Prime Minister Netanyahu is “committed” to working to narrow the gaps that are preventing a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire intended to lead to a longer-term deal. He also said Netanyahu had accepted an idea, proposed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, of a 12-hour humanitarian time out.
But Israeli government sources told Army Radio the ceasefire terms proposed by Kerry were “completely unreasonable.” An unnamed senior Israeli government official flatly disputed Kerry’s assertion that his offer was “built on the Egyptian initiative” — which Israel accepted last week and Hamas rejected. In fact, the official was quoted saying, the Kerry offer is not built on the Egyptian proposal and tilts heavily toward Hamas.
The Army Radio report also highlighted that the US on Monday signed an $11 billion arms deal with Qatar, and noted that Qatar is championing Hamas’s demands in the ceasefire negotiations, and is also alleged by Israel to be financing Hamas’s rocket production, tunnel digging infrastructure, and other elements of its military infrastructure. The radio report also claimed that Ban Ki-moon “is flying around the region on a Qatari plane.”
Indications from the lengthy Israeli cabinet meeting that rejected Kerry’s offer Friday are that the ministers were incensed that the terms of the deal would not have enabled Israel to continue to locate and demolish a network of dozens of tunnels that Hamas has dug, up to a mile or more long, from under Gaza residential areas all the way beneath the Israeli border.
‘Hamas agrees to 12-hour truce’
A Hamas official tells AFP tonight that the Islamist terrorist group will observe a 12-hour Gaza ceasefire starting later in the morning.
“Hamas agrees on a ceasefire for 12 hours starting this morning,” says the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Teen said killed in West Bank protest
Israeli troops are said to kill a Palestinian teen at a protest in the West Bank today.
Hamas reportedly agrees to 12-hour truce
Hamas has agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire starting at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Reuters reports.
The ceasefire is reportedly mediated with the help of the UN.
National consensus on humanitarian truce — Hamas
A Hamas official tells AFP Saturday that there is a “national consensus” on a humanitarian ceasefire starting at 8 a.m. this morning.
“There is national consensus on a humanitarian truce … for 12 hours on Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zukhri tells AFP.
A US official said late Friday that Israel had decided on a unilateral 12-hour Gaza ceasefire from 7 a.m. Saturday morning.
Those evacuated from homes can’t return during truce — IDF
Those evacuated from their homes in the Gaza Strip will not be allowed to return to them during the 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire set to come into effect at 8 a.m. tomorrow, Ynet News reports, citing military sources.
Hamas says 3 killed as Israeli raids continue
Hamas reports that 3 Palestinians are killed as Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip continue.
Gaza health ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra says that an hour ago, the IDF targeted the coastal enclave’s Sheikh Radwan area, killing two people and injuring a third.
A third person was said to have been killed during an Israeli raid on Shuhada Street, in central Gaza.
3 rockets shot down over Ashkelon
Three rockets launched from the Gaza Strip are shot down by the Iron Dome missile defense system over Ashkelon.
Sirens are heard in the southern city, but no casualties are reported.
‘Attempt to kidnap soldier thwarted in Gaza’
An attempt to kidnap an IDF soldier in the Gaza Strip was thwarted tonight, Army Radio reports.
According to the report, two terrorists emerged from a tunnel entrance and tried to seize a soldier, but an IDF force opened fire on them.
IDF confirms 12-hour Gaza ceasefire from 8 a.m.
The IDF says it will observe “a humanitarian window in the Gaza Strip” for 12 hours from 8 a.m. tomorrow.
An army statement says that Gazans who have previously been warned by the military to vacate their homes due to planned attacks should “refrain from returning” and says forces will retaliate if attacked or if terrorists fire rockets into Israel.
2 Palestinian teens said killed tonight
Two Palestinian teens are said to have been shot to death today in continuing West Bank protests over Israel’s Gaza military campaign, Palestinian security officials tell AFP.
They say Nasri Mahmud Paqatqa, 16, is killed and five others wounded in a clash in the village of Beit Fajar, south of Bethlehem, while 18-year-old Bassem Abu Rub dies in a protest at the Jalama military checkpoint in the northern West Bank.
On Friday, five Palestinians were killed in the West Bank in separate clashes.
Code Red sirens sound over Hof Ashkelon
Less than an hour after Iron Dome shoots down three rockets over the city of Ashkelon, Code Red sirens are once again heard in the Hof Ashkelon area.
No hits are reported.
Operations to locate tunnels to continue during ceasefire — IDF
IDF operations to locate and destroy terror tunnels underneath the Gaza Strip will continue during the 12-hour “humanitarian window” agreed on by both Hamas and Israel.
“During this time, the operational activities to locate and neutralize tunnels in the Gaza Strip will continue,” reads an IDF statement released tonight.
The military also warns that the terms of the ceasefire will be nullified by any attacks on Israeli targets.
“The IDF shall respond if terrorists choose to exploit this time to attack IDF personnel or fire at Israeli civilians.”
8 killed in Israeli Gaza airstrike — Hamas
Eight Palestinians are killed in an Israeli airstrike on the southern Gazan town of Khan Yunis tonight, four of them children, a Hamas spokesman says.
About 20 people are wounded in the strike, he says.
The deaths bring the overall toll of Palestinian dead to 879, according to Hamas figures.
Thousands attend anti-Israel rally in NYC
Thousands take to the streets of New York City to protest the ongoing IDF operation in the Gaza Strip, with many calling for an end to US aid to Israel, Reuters report.
Police reportedly estimate that between 2,000 and 3,000 people attended the demonstration, held in the bustling streets around Times Square.
Code Red sirens sound in Sha’ar Hanegev area
Code Red sirens are heard over the Sha’ar Hanegev area, signaling incoming rockets fired from the Gaza Strip.
No hits are reported.
Palestinians report 15 dead in Israeli raids
A Hamas spokesman says 15 Palestinians are killed in artillery shelling and Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.
He says the latest raids bring the Gazan death toll in Operation Protective Edge to 880.
2 IDF troops killed in Gaza Strip last night
Two IDF soldiers were killed in combat in the Gaza Strip last night, raising the IDF death toll in Operation Protective Edge to 37, the IDF says.
“In addition, since yesterday evening 3 IDF soldiers were severely injured, 13 soldiers were moderately injured and 19 were lightly injured in several incidents as part of the ongoing ground operation in the Gaza Strip,” reads a statement by the military.
The soldiers’ families have been notified.
Last night, two IDF soldiers were killed on the battlefield in Gaza.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 26, 2014
IDF identifies fallen soldier as Guy Boyland, 21
After revealing that two IDF soldiers died in combat in the Gaza Strip yesterday, the military identifies one of the fallen soldiers as Guy Boyland, 21 years old from Ginosar.
Boyland, a combat engineer for the 7th Armored Brigade, is said to have been killed yesterday evening.
צה"ל התיר לפרסם את שם אחד משני ההרוגים אמש ברצועת עזה: סמ"ר גיא בויילנד, בן 21 מקיבוץ גינוסר. יהי זכרו ברוך pic.twitter.com/uNF1UG4kn1
— חדשות 2 (@Channel2News) July 26, 2014
Muslims seek refuge, break fast in Gaza church
Since Operation Protective Edge in Gaza began, hundreds of Muslim Palestinians have found themselves worshiping in a Christian house of God, where they took refuge after Israeli airstrikes targeted their neighborhoods.
“They let us pray. It’s changed my view of Christians — I didn’t really know any before, but they’ve become our brothers,” says Khalaf, 27, who admitted he never expected to perform his evening prayers in a church.
“We (Muslims) prayed all together last night,” he says. “Here, the love between Muslims and Christians has grown.”
Walking into the Saint Porphyrius Church courtyard in Gaza City, visitors are greeted with a “marhaban” by Christian helpers, but with a decidedly more Islamic “peace be upon you” (Arabic: al-salamu aleikum) by most of its current residents — displaced Gazans who have made it their shelter for almost two weeks.
Berlin pro-Palestinians steer clear of anti-Semitism
Just before pro-Palestinian demonstrators march through the streets of Berlin to mark Al-Quds Day, chief organizer Jurgen Grassmann emphasized that the march is not against Jews, only Zionists. “The Zionists will try to provoke us. Jews are our brothers, Zionists are our enemies.”
Below Grassman stand two members of Neturei Karta, covered with anti-Israel paraphernalia and holding placards proclaiming, in German, that “Judaism opposes the Zionist state.”
After reports emerged recently of anti-Semitic chants and acts at pro-Palestinian rallies in Europe, particularly in France, the German police had warned the organizers to tone down the demonstrations and avoid anti-Semitic rhetoric.
— Micki Weinberg
Three IDF soldiers seriously wounded in Gaza overnight
Three IDF soldiers are seriously wounded overnight in the Gaza Strip, the military says.
Thirteen soldiers are moderately injured and 19 sustain light injuries.
All are being treated at hospitals around the country.
Police warn civilians not to approach Gaza Periphery
Israel Police are warning the public not to approach communities in the south near the Gaza Strip or drive on roads close to the Palestinian enclave.
Israelis have been making their way south to visit troops, bring supplies to soldiers or out of general curiosity.
“We are urging the public to avoid driving on roads in the Gaza Periphery. These are roads that serve the security forces and the movement of troops and are considered dangerous,” the police’s transportation department is quoted by Ynet as saying in a statement.
Rocket explodes in Eshkol region
A rocket fired from Gaza explodes in open terrain in the Eshkol Regional Council.
There are no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
Palestinians say 16 members of single family killed in Gaza shelling
The Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry is reporting that 16 members of the same family were killed overnight when an IDF tank shell hit their home in the southern Gaza Strip.
The incident occurred hours before the 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect at 8 am.
Health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al-Qudra says the members of the Al-Najjar family were trapped in their home in Khuzaa village, east of Khan Younis.
Turkish FM to meet Hamas chief in Qatar for truce talks
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is set to meet Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal in Qatar later today to discuss a proposal for a week-long humanitarian ceasefire.
The Turkish FM is also set to meet Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled bin Muhammad al-Atiyah.
The 7-day lull is put forth jointly by the US, Qatar and Turkey, the Turkish Daily Hurriyet reports, and proposes the sides sit down for long-term negotiations during the timeout.
The paper reports that a senior Turkish government official is in direct contact with a close adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the harsh statements made by both Davutoglu and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent days, including comments in which he called Israel more barbaric than Hitler.
WATCH: IDF field hospital for injured Gazans begins receiving patients
The IDF posts footage of a field hospital set up for injured Gazans near the Erez Crossing between Israel and the Hamas-ruled Palestinian enclave, which began receiving patients, the video shows.
The hospital was not yet complete but is expected to have an emergency room, a gynecology and delivery room, a pediatrics department and a pharmacy.
The military announced that it was setting up the hospital last week.
Gazans hitting street during lull to run urgent errands
Gazans are venturing out in the Palestinian enclave during the humanitarian ceasefire set to end at 8 pm to stock up on food, charge their cellphones and withdraw money, journalists in the Gaza Strip report
Gazans say they are emerging after days of hiding from #Israeli military bombardment to restock food, water, go to the bank during ceasefire
— Ruth Pollard (@rpollard) July 26, 2014
— Derek Stoffel (@DerekStoffelCBC) July 26, 2014
Long line at Western Union in Gaza City as people rush to get money wired by relatives.
— Tamer El-Ghobashy (@TamerELG) July 26, 2014
In Gaza city, people are hitting the street to handle the urgent and the mundane: restock on food, money. One man washed his car leisurely
— Tamer El-Ghobashy (@TamerELG) July 26, 2014
Grandson of late Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin killed in Gaza
The grandson of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin, killed by Israel in a targeted assassination in 2004, was killed in Gaza today, according to an Israel Radio report citing Palestinian sources.
The 15-year-old died when a house in Gaza City was struck. The circumstances are not yet clear.
Over 1,000 Israelis land at Ben Gurion Airport after flight ban
Over 1,000 Israeli travelers who were stuck abroad due to the flight ban this week, land at Ben Gurion Airport on flights from Turkey, Army Radio reports.
Palestinians report 35 bodies found across Gaza during lull
The bodies of at least another 35 Palestinians are recovered from rubble across Gaza on, raising to over 900 the overall death toll in the Palestinian enclave since July 8, Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry medics say.
Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra says the bodies were retrieved in the three hours since a humanitarian truce came into effect. Thirteen bodies were recovered in Shejaiya in eastern Gaza City, 13 more in Deir al-Balah and Nusseirat in central Gaza, and nine in north Gaza, he says.
– AFP, Times of Israel staff
Hamas reportedly agrees to Kerry’s 7-day truce proposal
Hamas reportedly agrees to a proposal put forth by US Secretary of State John Kerry that will see a seven-day ceasefire between Israel and the terror group.
According to a report in A-Sharq al-Awsat cited by Ynet, Hamas wants to give Gazans “breathing room” for the Eid al-Fitr holiday which marks the end of Ramadan.
Large protest against Gaza military operation planned in Tel Aviv tonight
A large protest against Israel’s Operation Protective Edge is planned for tonight in Tel Aviv at 8 pm, right as the 12-hour humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas is set to end.
On a Facebook event page called “We don’t want any more people killed,” more than 5,000 people have indicated they will attend.
Kerry meeting French FM in Paris for truce talks
US Secretary of State John Kerry is in Paris meeting with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and counterparts from Britain, Germany, Italy, Qatar, Turkey and the European Union to discuss efforts for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s son calls IDF ‘Nazi army’
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s son, Yasser Abbas calls the Israel Defense Force a “Nazi army.”
In an interview with Palestinian TV while donating blood at a Palestinian hospital today, Abbas’s son says “Israel can defend itself with tanks, planes and the Iron Dome, and what about us? Israel is shooting at [civilians’s] homes. That’s a crime. Israel is behaving like the Nazis and the IDF is an Nazi army.”
בנו של אבו מאזן, יאסר, תורם דם, בהתאם לקריאת אביו לתרום דם עבור פצועי עזה והגדה pic.twitter.com/iZvAQp6VJC
— Gal Berger (@galberger) July 26, 2014
“So far, many of our people have died. What people can tolerate such a thing?” he asks, according to Channel 2.
Yasser Abbas promises that the Palestinians in the West Bank will not remain quiet about the operation in Gaza, after six Palestinians died in various clashes overnight.
At least 76 bodies recovered from rubble in Gaza during 12-hour truce
Medics from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip say the bodies of at least 76 Palestinians were recovered from the rubble across the Palestinian enclave in the first few hours of a 12-hour humanitarian truce today.
Emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra says 76 bodies were brought to hospitals in north, central and southern Gaza, as well as Gaza City, but that the toll was expected to rise further still.
IDF strikes 150 terror sites in 24 hours
IDF forces target over 150 “terror sites” in the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours.
The military says it hit almost 4,000 such sites since Operation Protective Edge began on July 8.
IDF says heavy fighting in Beit Hanoun neighborhood overnight
An army source says there were several heavy clashes in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip overnight Friday-Saturday, in which several booby-trapped houses were detonated, according to Israel Radio.
The military source also says terrorists tried to emerge from a tunnel shaft and fire at troops.
The IDF says it has so far uncovered 31 terror tunnels running from the Gaza Strip, of which 15 have been destroyed.
Soldier killed Friday night to be buried Sunday
First Sgt. Guy Boyland, 21, one of two soldiers killed Friday night in Gaza, will be laid to rest on Sunday afternoon at the military cemetery in Kibbutz Ginosar.
Boyland was a combat engineer for the 7th Armored Brigade.
The IDF has yet to name the second soldier.
Turkey resumes flights to Israel
Turkey resumes flights to Ben Gurion Airport after Israel and Hamas agreed to a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, the state civil aviation authority says.
“Taking into account the current ceasefire, the flight ban on Israel’s Ben Gurion Airport has been lifted, pending a subsequent announcement,” Turkish Ministry of Transport’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation (SHGM) said on Twitter.
Turkey imposed the flight ban late Tuesday amid fears that rocket fire from Gaza was endangering commercial air traffic into Tel Aviv and renewed the ban repeatedly due to security reasons.
Major US and European airlines were on Saturday also resuming flights to Tel Aviv.
Kerry denies Israel rejected ceasefire proposal
US Secretary of State John Kerry denies that Israel rejected his ceasefire proposal on Friday night, after it was widely reported that the security cabinet did in fact reject it, with government sources saying it was tilted toward Hamas.
“There was no formal proposal submitted to Israel,” Kerry said, according to a report in The Guardian. “Let’s make that absolutely crystal clear. Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu called me a few minutes before this to tell me that that [rejection] was an error, and he’s putting out a statement to that effect … It’s fair to say that Israel had some opposition to some concepts, but that doesn’t mean a proposal by any means.”
Top diplomats call for extension to 12-hour Israel-Hamas truce
Top diplomats in Paris, among them US Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, are calling for an extension to the 12-hour humanitarian truce between Israel and Hamas.
The lull is set to end at 8 pm local time.
“We all call on parties to extend the humanitarian ceasefire,” Fabius told reporters after a meeting in Paris with Kerry and their counterparts from Britain, Germany, Italy, Qatar and Turkey, as well as an EU representative.
#BREAKING: Top diplomats call for extension to 12-hour Gaza truce: French FM
— Agence France-Presse (@AFP) July 26, 2014
Iran official says Hamas only used 3% of arsenal thus far
An Iranian official says that Hamas has only expended three percent of its military arsenal in the 19-day war with Israel, the Lebanon Daily Star reports.
Deputy Iranian Foreign Minister for Arab Affairs Hossein Amir Abdolahian says in Beirut that Iran is “exerting and using all available efforts and capabilities to prevent [Israel] from continuing its massacres and crimes against civilians in Gaza,” and that Tehran “will not allow the Zionist entity to continue its barbaric aggression on the Gaza Strip or allow it to achieve its ambition.”
Turkish aid group preps for Gaza aid convoy — with armed escort
A Turkish humanitarian aid group that organized the Mavi Marmara flotilla in 2010 is planning to launch another aid convoy to the Gaza Strip, but this time with an armed Turkish military escort.
According to a Gulf Online report published in English by The Middle East Monitor, IHH chairman Bulent Yildrim says that his organization has started the process for obtaining a permit to launch another aid flotilla to the Gaza Strip and that “Turkish army troops will accompany the ships to protect [them] from any potential attack.”
In May 2010, the Mavi Marmara was boarded by Israeli commandos as it attempted to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. In the ensuing melee with IHH members which Israel said were armed, nine Turkish activists were killed and ten Israeli soldiers injured, the UN reported.
Yildirim is cited saying that this time around, the IHH “demanded the government provide protection for them as Turkish citizens.”
Turkey’s Jews safe, says Erdogan, but they should denounce Israeli goverment
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan tells Turkey’s Daily Sabah that Turkish Jews have nothing to fear, and that the Turkish government is “responsible for their security of life and property.” At the same time, he called on the country’s Jewish leadership to release a statement condemning the Israeli government.
Speaking after a string of violent riots in Istanbul and Ankara targeting Israeli consulate buildings, Erdogan says he “talked with our Jewish citizens’ leaders on Thursday and I stated that they should adopt a firm stance and release a statement against the Israeli government.”
Turkey is officially home to roughly 18,000 Jews, a community that has existed there for millennia.
“I will contact them [Jewish leaders in Turkey] again, but whether or not they release a statement, we will never let Jewish people in Turkey get hurt,” Erdogan says.
The prime minister says he’s working to have Israeli officials tried in the international court.
Ayatollah Khamenei tweets supreme listicle for eliminating Israel
Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweets a list of nine answers to key questions about the destruction of the state of Israel.
In his supreme listicle, the supreme leader says that the reason why the Jewish state should be destroyed is because “the fake zionist regime has tried to realize its goals by means of infanticide, homicide, violence & iron fist while boasts about it blatantly.”
His proposal is for “all the original people of Palestine, including Muslims, Christians and Jews wherever they are, whether inside Palestine, in refugee camps in other countries or just anywhere else, take part in a public and organized referendum.”
“Naturally the Jewish immigrants who have been persuaded into emigration to Palestine do not have the right to take part in this referendum,” he says. The government voted into power will decide what to do with “the non-Palestinian emigrants [Israelis] who have immigrated to this country over the past years,” whether they can remain or must return to “their home countries.”
Until Israel is destroyed, “powerful confrontation and armed resistance” is the means by which it should be confronted, by Khamenei doesn’t advocate conventional war or international mediation to resolve the issue.
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) July 26, 2014
Deaths in Gaza said to top 1,000
Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip report that the death toll in Gaza rose above 1,000 dead on Saturday as more than 100 bodies were pulled from the rubble of homes throughout the coastal enclave during a truce.
The grim milestone came on the 19th day of a conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement, during a 12-hour truce that allowed Gaza residents to pick through the ruins of their homes.
Israel says hundreds of the Gaza dead are Hamas gunmen, and Gaza officials acknowledge that there are “fighters” among the dead.
With three hours left to the truce, it has been observed by both sides. The security cabinet is set to discuss an extension of the humanitarian truce at 8:30 p.m., just after it expires, at Tel Aviv’s Defense Ministry headquarters.
— AFP contributed to this post.
French FM calls for long-term truce that addresses Israel’s concerns
Foreign Ministers from seven nations are calling for an extension of the 12-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Saturday also urged world leaders to negotiate a long-term truce that addresses Israel’s concerns about security while also trying to accommodate Palestinian demands to open borders to more people living in Gaza and spurring economic development there.
Fabius spoke on behalf of diplomats from Britain, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Qatar, and the United States who gathered for a day of talks in Paris.
The French diplomat also raised concerns for civilians in both Gaza and Israel who have been caught in the crossfire of the war that is now in its third week.
— The Associated Press.
Top Israeli analyst lambastes Kerry
Channel 2’s Ehud Ya’ari, one of Israel’s most respected Middle East commentators, lambastes Kerry for having jetted off to Paris to meet with the Europeans, Turks and Qatar, with no Egyptians, no representatives of Mahmoud Abba’s PA, and no Israelis present.
The secretary is meeting with the champions of Hamas, and “fleeing from the Egyptian ceasefire initiative, which Abbas and Israel accepted,” Ya’ari fumes.
The key element of the Egyptian proposal was an unconditional ceasefire, to be followed by negotiations. The diplomats in Paris, by contrast, are tilting toward Hamas by discussing various ceasefire preconditions such as lifting the security blockade on the Strip. (That Egyptian-Israeli blockade has prevented even more potent weaponry being imported into Gaza by Hamas for using against Israel.)
Ya’ari’s comments reflect a very widespread sense in Israel of disappointment — to put it mildly — in Kerry.
IDF names four soldiers killed in Gaza combat
The IDF announces the names of four soldiers killed in combat in the Gaza Strip in the past day, raising the IDF death toll to 40.
They are named as: SSgt Amit Yeori, 20, of Jerusalem; Lt. Roy Peles, 21, of Tel Aviv; SSgt Avraham Grintzvaig, 21, of Petah Tikvah; and SSgt Gal Bason, 21, of Holon.
ToI’s Horovitz on Hamas’s victory claims
The Times of Israel’s David Horovitz posts an op-ed examining Hamas’s “victory” claims and Israel’s imperatives.
“Hamas is, of course, claiming that it is “winning” in the current conflict with Israel,” he writes. “Unfortunately, not all of its claims can be easily shrugged off, thanks to its ruthlessness and its cynical abuse of the Palestinian people, and in no small part thanks to the international community’s willful blindness and worse. Ultimately, though, what Hamas has to say matters far less than what Israel achieves in this resort to force. And most Israelis seem well aware of that.”
He notes that “Israelis generally believe the government is stewarding the conflict competently. A snap poll on Channel 10 gave Netanyahu an 82% favorability rating on Thursday — unprecedentedly high figures, though understandable in times of war, with so many soldiers dead. The government, for now, is demonstrating unity too; the entire security cabinet rejected the Kerry ceasefire proposal on Friday — Tzipi Livni, Yair Lapid, et al. Of course, that also underlines how outrageous the ministers considered that proposal to be.”
Israel inclined to extend humanitarian truce
Israeli government ministers are inclined to extend the 12-hour humanitarian truce in Gaza, an Israeli government source tells Reuters.
“As far as Israel is concerned, there is no reason to prevent Gaza’s people from stocking up on supplies, so long as the military can continue its work against the tunnels. Our war is not against the population,” the anonymous official is quoted saying.
There is no immediate word of how long the extension would last for. Hamas has made no comment about an extension of the ceasefire, the report says.
IDF releases video of Gaza house packed with explosives
The IDF publishes a video on YouTube showing its troops in Gaza and a Palestinian house rigged up with explosives next to a UN school.
Possible ‘Third Infrittata,’ tongue-tied MSNBC anchor says
On MSNBC’s “Now with Alex Wagner,” anchor Luke Russert has an amusing slip of the tongue when discussing the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Referring to the possibility of a third Palestinian uprising, Russert stumbles over the word intifada, Arabic for “shaking off,” instead appearing to refer to a Third Infrittata.
A frittata is an Italian dish made with fried beaten eggs, similar to a Spanish omelet.
Israeli ministers approve 4-hour truce extension
Israeli ministers approve the extension of the humanitarian truce by four hours, until midnight, after voting by telephone on the issue, Israeli media reports.
It remains to be seen whether Hamas will accept the four-hour extension.
Police kibosh peace rally in Tel Aviv, citing security concerns
Police ban a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, citing Home Front Command restrictions on the assembly of large numbers of persons in public spaces out of concern for rocket attacks. It says it’s a “security decision” made “for the good of the public peace.”
“The Israel Police is attentive to values of freedom of speech and democracy, but under the present circumstances the value of preserving human life is the utmost priority,” the police spokesperson says in a statement.
It calls on the public not to attend the right and left-wing rallies scheduled Saturday evening in Tel Aviv.
Egypt summons Turkish envoy over Erdogan’s criticism
Egypt warns Ankara Saturday of “further action” as it protested for the second time in a week at the Turkish premier criticizing its president and Cairo’s handling of the Gaza conflict.
Ties have been strained since both withdrew their ambassadors last year after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who had forged closer ties with Turkey’s devout Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The foreign ministry says it was summoning the Turkish charge d’affaires – for the second time within a week – to protest against Erdogan’s criticism in the media on Thursday of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Cairo’s stance on the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty tells AFP that the protest comes after Erdogan in an interview with US television channel CNN “repeated again that Sissi was a tyrant and that Egypt has no role” in resolving the Gaza crisis.
Erdogan also denounced Sissi on July 18 as an “illegitimate tyrant”, saying that Cairo could not be relied upon to negotiate a truce in Gaza.
Saturday’s ministry statement says Erdogan’s remarks show “the total ignorance and dismissal of the political reality in Egypt since the June 30 revolution.”
Millions of Egyptians had taken to the streets on June 30 last year demanding the resignation of Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president.
Sissi ousted Morsi on the back of these protests.
“The Turkish leadership has repeatedly interfered in the internal affairs of the country, which is totally unacceptable,” the ministry says.
Erdogan’s remarks also “show deliberate ignoring of … Egypt’s role and its position in defending the Palestinian cause”.
“Continuing to impair Egypt and its elected leadership will undoubtedly lead to further action on the part of Egypt that would limit the development of the bilateral relations between the two countries.”
Egypt is among countries mediating a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but its efforts to secure a long-term truce have yet to yield results.
Turkey and Qatar are both regional rivals of Egypt and have good relations with Gaza’s militant Hamas ruler which rejected an Egypt-brokered ceasefire early in the conflict.
Truce extension meets Israel’s need to destroy tunnels
The truce extension is to Israel’s taste, says Channel 2, since the IDF remains deployed in Gaza and is carrying on with its work in demolishing Hamas tunnels.
Meanwhile, the cabinet meeting scheduled for 8:30 p.m. has reportedly been pushed back to 9:30 p.m.
UN envoy Serry calls for 24-hour extension of Gaza truce
The UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Robert Serry, calls for a further extension of the humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip for another full day “to allow vital humanitarian efforts to continue, including UN relief operations.”
“It will give civilians a chance to retrieve and bury their dead, flee to safer premises, resupply with vital commodities and services, and continue overdue emergency repairs on water and energy infrastructure,” Serry says in a statement.
He praises both sides’ observance of the 12-hour ceasefire thus far on Satruday and “calls on all parties to respond positively to his call in the remaining time.”
Serry “hopes that ongoing diplomatic efforts can build on the pause in order to arrive at a durable cease fire and address underlying causes for the instability in Gaza.”
Senior minister says Israel won’t end op until tunnels are gone
Israel’s Communications Minister Gilad Erdan, a former member of the security cabinet, tells Channel 2 that Israel “will not end this operation and leave Gaza until the tunnels are dealt with.”
Israel is also intent on harming Hamas’s terrorist infrastructure, he says. “The international community needs to understand that we are very open to the economic rehabilitation of Gaza… but Hamas is our enemy.” If Hamas continues to build rockets and tunnels, Israel won’t be able to tolerate that.
Erdan says that, when the time comes, Abbas “can certainly be an address” for a security role at the Gaza border crossings.
Hamas said to approve 4-hour truce extension
Hamas has reportedly accepted the extension of the humanitarian truce by four more hours. The Israeli cabinet approved a four-hour extension in the past hour.
— Sherine Tadros (@SherineT) July 26, 2014
Police have lifted the ban on public gatherings, thus allowing the peace rally in Tel Aviv to proceed as planned, because of the approval of the truce extension by the Israeli cabinet.
Cabinet to weigh UN envoy’s call for 24-hour truce
After giving the green light to an extension of the humanitarian truce until midnight tonight, the Israeli cabinet will next consider UN special envoy Robert Serry’s call for a full 24-hour truce.
Hamas has reportedly accepted the 4-hour extension of the humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip, but there’s been no official statement.
Only 9 rockets fired at Israel on Saturday, IDF says
As the 12-hour truce elapses, and the four hour extension begins, the IDF says that only nine rockets have been fired at Israel on Saturday, all before the 8 a.m. humanitarian truce. Three rockets were intercepted, the IDF says.
The last time so few rockets were fired at Israel was on July 5, before Operation Protective Edge began.
Sirens in Eshkol region, Ashkelon as Hamas breaches truce
Despite reports that Hamas agreed to extend the humanitarian truce by four hours, air raid sirens are going off in southern Israel as rockets are fired.
Four mortars explode in south after ceasefire expires
Four mortar bombs explode in southern Israel’s Eshkol region, no injuries or damage are reported.
According to Channel 2, the IDF says it might not be an intentional violation of the truce, but a lone terror cell acting without orders from Hamas’s central command.
Liberman says no need to extend humanitarian truce beyond midnight
Foreign Minister Liberman says he sees no need to extend the current humanitarian truce in Gaza beyond midnight. Otherwise it will turn into a “creeping ceasefire,” he says.
Asked whether Israel should halt or continue and expand the ground offensive, Liberman tells Channel 2 that the real question is whether what the IDF has achieved thus far “can prevent a fourth round” of conflict with Hamas and guarantee the safety of the people of Israel.
Plainly he believes the operation should continue. “We have to be sure, the day after a ceasefire, that Hamas cannot restart digging tunnels,” and developing better, more dangerous missiles. “If we haven’t achieved that…,” he tails off.
And with that, Liberman leaves the studio for a cabinet meeting.
Over 1,000 said to show at Tel Aviv peace rally
Over 1,000 protesters have reportedly shown up to a pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square. People are calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. They are holding placards calling for the withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza and chanting “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”
According to Channel 2, the left-wing Meretz party and Peace Now are not party to the protest.
— +972 Magazine (@972mag) July 26, 2014
Several hundreds at antiwar rally in Tel Aviv, chants for Gaza cease fire pic.twitter.com/jjW2C25w0X
— joshmitnick (@joshmitnick) July 26, 2014
Kerry ‘completely capitulating’ to Hamas demands, Israeli officials say
Israeli government sources on Saturday night accuse US Secretary of State John Kerry of “completely capitulating” to the demands of Hamas and its champion Qatar in drafting the Gaza war ceasefire proposal that Israeli ministers unanimously rejected on Friday.
The unnamed sources, quoted by Israel’s Channel 2 TV, say Kerry “dug a tunnel under the Egyptian ceasefire proposal” — which Israel accepted and Hamas rejected last week — and presented the Israeli government with a text that accepted “most of the demands” raised by Hamas, the Islamist terror group that rules the Strip.
Read our full coverage here.
Liberman, Bennett expected to oppose truce extension
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett are expected to vote against any extension of Saturday’s humanitarian truce beyond midnight tonight, Channel 2 reports.
The UN had requested an extension of the truce by 24 hours beyond the original 8 p.m. ending, but Israel has so far approved only four more hours. The cabinet is meeting soon to decide on whether to extend it any longer.
Sirens in Sha’ar Hanegev, Sdot Negev regions
Hamas spokesperson says no truce extension
Hamas spokesperson in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri is quoted by Israel Radio’s Gal Berger saying that the Palestinian group has made no agreement to extend the humanitarian truce, which expired at 8 p.m., by four more hours to midnight.
The report comes out after a second rocket barrage is fired at southern Israel since the 12-hour truce expired at 8 p.m.
Hamas spokesperson in Gaza Abu Zuhri: no agreement on 4 hours extension of humanitarian ceasefire >>>
— Gal Berger (@galberger) July 26, 2014
Mortar shell hits southern Israel
One mortar shell lands in the Sha’ar Hanegev region of southern Israel, causing no injury or damage. It is the fifth fired into Israeli territory since the humanitarian truce ended with a renewal of Hamas fire. For the time being, the IDF is holding its fire.
Kerry says ceasefire must meet needs of both sides
US Secretary of State John Kerry says in a statement during a meeting with his Turkish and Qatari counterparts in Paris that the ceasefire proposal being negotiated involves arrangements for Israeli security and economic and social development for the Palestinians.
“I understand that Palestinians need to live with dignity, with some – freedom, with goods that can come in and out, and they need a life that is free from the current restraints that they feel on a daily basis, and obviously free from violence,” Kerry says. “But at the same time, Israelis need to live free from rockets and from tunnels that threaten them, and every conversation we’ve had embraces a discussion about these competing interests that are real for both. And so we need to have a solution that works at this.”
“The tunnels have to be dealt with,” the American diplomat says, referring to Hamas’s subterranean military infrastructure used to attack Israel. “We understand that; we’re working at that. By the same token, the Palestinians can’t have a cease-fire in which they think the status quo is going to stay and they’re not going to have the ability to be able to begin to live and breathe more freely and move within the crossings and begin to have goods and services that come in from outside.”
Sirens in central, southern Israeli cities
Air raid alarms as far north as the greater Tel Aviv area.
Hamas claims rocket fire after truce crumbles
Hamas’s al-Qassam Brigades takes responsibility for firing rockets at southern Israel after a humanitarian truce crumbles. Hamas’s armed wing tweets that it fired five 107 rockets and a Qassam rocket.
21:20 Al-Qassam Brigades fired Nahal Oz Terminal with 5 107 missiles and Qassam rocket in response to Israel's crimes on Gaza #Resistance
— Al-Qassam Brigades (@Qassam_English) July 26, 2014
At least two rockets were just shot down over the southern city of Ashkelon.
There are also unconfirmed reports that the IDF recommenced shelling of targets in the Gaza Strip.
Hamas fires more rockets; police break up Tel Aviv protests
Hamas says it fired five Grad rockets at Ashkelon and two M-75 long-range rockets at Tel Aviv.
— Al-Qassam Brigades (@Qassam_English) July 26, 2014
— Al-Qassam Brigades (@Qassam_English) July 26, 2014
Because of the renewed rocket fire and apparent breakdown of the humanitarian truce, police are dispersing the rallies for and against Israel’s operation in Gaza in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square.
IDF says holding fire despite Hamas’s breach of truce
Contrary to various reports, the IDF says it’s holding its fire and observing Israel’s commitment to the humanitarian truce extension, despite the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip in the past couple of hours.
Hamas has taken responsibility for the launching of over 10 rockets at Israel since the expiration of the 12-hour truce at 8 p.m.
Two Palestinians said assaulted by Jewish mob in Jerusalem
Two Palestinians were assaulted by a Jewish mob in Jerusalem’s Beit Hanina neighborhood, Haaretz reports.
Amir Shweiki and Samer Mahfouz, both 20, were attacked by a group of at least 12 Israelis in the northern neighborhood, the paper says. The circumstances and motive of the incident remain unclear.
They’ve been hospitalized at Hadassah Hospital at Ein Kerem in serious condition.
The police have launched an investigation into the incident.
Sirens in Ashkelon, Beersheba regions
Kerry flies back to Washington
An Associated Press photographer snaps a photo as US Secretary of State John Kerry boards a plane from Paris back to the United States after talks to reach a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip stall.
— Charles Dharapak (@Dharapak) July 26, 2014
Hamas says Gaza man shot dead after truce ended
A Hamas Health Ministry spokesperson says Gaza resident Naem Abd al-Aziz Abu Thaher, 36, was shot dead by Israeli forces in eastern Deir al-Balah after the truce ended at 8 p.m. The report couldn’t be confirmed, but the IDF says it’s maintaining its ceasefire.
Hamas, in a snarky message on Twitter, notes that the humanitarian truce ended at 8 p.m., explaining its recommencement of rocket fire at Israel.
Sorry… Forgot to inform you. 12-hour U.N.-proposed humanitarian truce came to an end at 20.00 Local Time (17:00 GMT)
— Al-Qassam Brigades (@Qassam_English) July 26, 2014
PM’s spokesperson says ‘Hamas doesn’t give a damn about Gaza’s people’
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson rails against Hamas, saying the Islamist terror group’s breaking of the truce shows that “Hamas does not give a damn about Gaza’s people and their well-being.”
Hamas once again broke the ceasefire the UN requested. Hamas does not give a damn about Gaza's people and their well-being.
— Ofir Gendelman (@ofirgendelman) July 26, 2014
Channel 2’s Ehud Ya’ari says that Hamas believes that Israel does not want to deepen the ground offensive, and it believes Israel is intimating to Kerry that the Egyptian proposals are negotiable. Therefore it is feeling confident, and chose to end the humanitarian truce.
Hamas says over 100 bodies pulled from rubble during truce
Hamas’s Health Ministry spokesperson says that an additional 147 bodies were pulled out of the rubble during the humanitarian truce on Saturday.
Hamas says that at least 1,046 Palestinians have been killed since Operation Protective Edge began 19 days ago. Israel says that hundreds of those killed in the Gaza Strip are Hamas fighters, and Gaza officials acknowledge that the death toll includes combatants.
— Al-Qassam Brigades (@Qassam_English) July 26, 2014
Israeli man seriously injured by Gaza mortar
Ynet reports that an Israeli man was seriously wounded by a Palestinian mortar round in a town near the Gaza Strip.
IDF says 2 soldiers died of wounds
The IDF releases the names of two Israeli soldiers who succumbed to their wounds on Saturday.
Cpt. Liad Lavi, 22, of Talmei Yosef, died Saturday after being wounded Thursday in the southern Gaza Strip.
SGM Rami Kahlon, a non-commissioned officer in the paratroopers, 39, of Hadera, died Saturday after being injured in combat on Tuesday near the border with the Gaza Strip.
The IDF death toll in Operation Protective Edge now stands at 42.
Israeli cabinet approves 24-hour truce extension
Media reports say that the Israeli security cabinet has approved a 24 hour extension of the humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip, until Sunday at 8p.m. Hamas, however, has rejected an extension of the original 12-hour truce which elapsed at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Earlier in the evening, UN special envoy Robert Serry called on Israel to hold its fire for another 24 hours.
Kerry heads back to Washington
John Kerry is not returning to the region from Paris, but is heading back to Washington, having failed to broker a ceasefire.
Channel 2 again quotes government sources describing his handling of the crisis as “amateurish,” “negligent” and baffling to Israel.