The Times of Israel liveblogged events as they unfolded through Sunday, August 10, the 34th day of Operation Protective Edge. An Egyptian-brokered 72-hour ceasefire came into effect at midnight Sunday-Monday, after Israel said it would not negotiate with Hamas at the indirect talks in Cairo unless the rockets stopped. (Monday’s liveblog is here.)

You can also follow @TOIAlerts on Twitter — we’re live-tweeting all the updates there as well.

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Day 34 of Operation Protective Edge

PREAMBLE: We enter Day 34 of Operation Protective Edge. On Saturday, Hamas and other terror groups fired several dozen rockets into southern Israel, and Israel targeted Hamas and other terror cites and personnel in Gaza.

Israel’s delegation has not returned to the indirect negotiations on a long-term ceasefire in Cairo, with Israeli officials saying that Israel will not negotiate while the Hamas attacks continue.

Hundreds turn out for anti-war protest in Tel Aviv

An anti-war demonstration took place central Tel Aviv’s Rabin square Saturday evening, despite Home Front Command restrictions on the gathering of more than 1,000 people because of possible rocket fire. According to police spokesperson Micky Rosenfeld, officers were on the scene “to secure the gathering & prevent any incidents.”

Hundreds turned out for the protest, activist Elizabeth Tsurkov tweeted, and held up banners saying “Stop the massacre, end the siege” and “War is avoidable, peace is inevitable.”

Right-wing activists reportedly shouted invectives at the demonstrators, telling them to go to Gaza.

Dozens block Jerusalem tracks after end of mourning for slain teen

The police report that dozens of Palestinians Saturday night blocked the light rail tracks after marking the end of the 40 days of mourning since the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir. They threw stones at police officers before being dispersed. No injuries or damage were reported.

30 rockets fired at Israel on Saturday, IDF says

The IDF said that Hamas launched 30 rockets at Israel on Saturday, 24 of which struck Israeli territory and five of which exploded in the Gaza Strip.

What happened to the unaccounted-for rocket remains unclear.

Palestinian reported killed in Israeli airstrike

Palestinians reported late Saturday that an Israeli airstrike in Deir al-Balah killed one, bringing the number of Gazans killed during the day in Israeli airstrikes to eight.

Obama, Cameron call for immediate truce in Gaza

US President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the renewed rocket fire at Israel and called for an immediate truce which would lead to a longer-term ceasefire.

Speaking over the phone Saturday, the two world leaders emphasized Israel’s right to self-defense and the necessity for the two sides to prevent harm to innocents.

IDF posts video of airstrike on Hamas

The Israeli army shares a video on YouTube of a strike on Hamas rocket launchers in the northern Gaza Strip over the weekend.

Hamas official says Israel stonewalling

Senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk says his organization has no interest in a further escalation of the conflict.

Marzouk, a member of the Hamas delegation to talks in Cairo, tells the Palestinian daily Al-Quds that Israel hasn’t been responding to his organization’s demands.

He says that the coming 24 hours will be pivotal in the effort to achieve a lasting ceasefire.

PA to pursue war crimes cases against Israelis

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki says his government will soon try to haul Israelis before the International Court of Justice for alleged war crimes.

“We will go to the ICJ, and put our signature on it. Very soon we will be a (sovereign) state. That is enough for the court to start an investigation,” Malki, on a visit to Bogota, tells AFP.

Malki, who attended the inauguration Thursday of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, says, “before coming here, I was in the Hague.

“And I asked the ICJ to start an official investigation, to see if what Israel has done in the past 33 days reaches the level of war crimes,” Malki tells a briefing in Bogota.


Hamas says Cairo talks are a long shot

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri is quoted by Ynet as saying that the talks in Cairo have a “very small chance” of succeeding.

Anti-Israel protest in New York

About 500 demonstrators in New York turn out to protest Israeli actions in the Gaza Strip.

They meet near Columbus Circle and march to United Nations headquarters, chanting: “Free, free Palestine! Occupation is a crime!”

Zouleikha Ban says she was born in Algeria, but protesters feel they are all Palestinians because she says “there is no justice” in Gaza.

Protesters march as they take part in a demonstration against military action in Gaza on August 9, 2014 in New York City (photo credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)

Protesters march as they take part in a demonstration against military action in Gaza on August 9, 2014 in New York City (photo credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)

Protesters march as they take part in a demonstration against military action in Gaza on August 9, 2014 in New York City (photo credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)

Protesters march as they take part in a demonstration against military action in Gaza on August 9, 2014 in New York City (photo credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)

Protesters march as they take part in a demonstration against military action in Gaza on August 9, 2014 in New York City (photo credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)

Protesters march as they take part in a demonstration against military action in Gaza on August 9, 2014 in New York City (photo credit: Kena Betancur/Getty Images/AFP)

— AP

Rocket alert in Ashkelon beach area

Ashkelon beach rocket alert — false alarm

Islamic Jihad says truce talks in danger

Ziad Nahla, a top official in the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement, says Cairo truce talks may fall apart because Israel has been sticking to its guns.

“The situation in the Cairo talks is very complicated,” Ynet quotes Nahla as saying. “Israel is refusing to agree to the demands of the resistance, which could lead to the talks being called off.”

Iranian general warns Hezbollah could strike Israel

Hossein Salami, an Iranian general who heads the air force of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, praises Hamas’s stand versus Israel and says “there are still many means that the resistance forces in Gaza haven’t employed yet. Israel hasn’t succeeded in hitting them and that’s a huge failure” on Israel’s part.

He also threatens that Hezbollah in Lebanon is ready to step into the fray to aid Hamas.

“Hezbollah is like a lion,” he says, “crouching to the north of the Zionist entity, ready to pounce if needed.”

Rocket alert in Kerem Shalom region

2 rockets hit Eshkol region; no casualties

After a quiet night, two rockets fired from Gaza fall in an open area in the Eshkol region.

There are no reports of casualties or damage.

Palestinians threaten to leave Cairo if Israeli team doesn’t show

Palestinian negotiators warn they will leave Cairo on Sunday if their Israeli counterparts do not show up for truce talks.

Negotiations for a ceasefire in Gaza are expected to resume in Cairo on Sunday with an Israeli delegation scheduled to arrive in the city, where a Palestinian team and Egyptian mediators are waiting.

But an Israeli official tells AFP that talks could not take place until Palestinian rocket fire came to a halt.

The Palestinian delegation warns they would leave the Egyptian capital if no delegation showed up, with one senior Palestinian setting a 1300 GMT deadline.

“We have a meeting tomorrow (Sunday) with Egyptian (mediators). If we confirm that the Israeli delegation is placing conditions for its return, we will not accept any conditions,” lead negotiator Azzam al-Ahmed tells AFP.

Another senior Palestinian negotiator says they had given the Israeli delegation until 1300 GMT on Sunday.


Southern residents consider leaving again as rockets fly

Residents of southern Israel who have returned to their homes during the 72-hour humanitarian lull before the weekend are weighing leaving as rocket fire resumes, Israel Radio reports.

Only half of the residents of the Nahal Oz kibbutz have returned, and according to Channel 2, they are warned to stay away by the local authorities.

The radio report also says that many residents of kibbutz Ein Hashlosha have not returned to their hometown.

IDF strikes 20 targets overnight

The Israeli air force strikes 20 sites in the Gaza Strip overnight, Israel Radio reports.

Over the weekend, the army hits 150 targets and kills two motorcyclists involved in terror activity, it reports.

Palestinians say Israel rejects most truce demands

Bassam Salhi, a Palestinian negotiator, says his team met with Egyptian mediators late Saturday.

He says Sunday: “We told the Egyptians that if the Israelis are not coming and if there is no significant development, we are leaving today.”

According to Ynet, a Palestinian representative says Israel is only willing to ease the blockade, rather than remove it.

Israel “rejects most of the Palestinian demands,” Qais Abdul Karim says.

AP and Times of Israel staff

Cabinet to convene at 10:30 a.m.

The full cabinet is set to meet at the defense ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv at 10:30 a.m..

College in Sderot pushes off summer session

The Sapir Academic College, located outside of Sderot, announces that the summer semester will not commence today as scheduled as rocket fire in southern Israel persists, Israel Radio reports.

The college says it intends to open Tuesday for the summer session and exams, but will continue to monitor the security situation and update accordingly.

Turkey to send 3,000 prefab houses to aid Gazans

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah says Turkey will send 3,000 prefabricated houses to the Gaza Strip.

Speaking to Palestinian TV and radio, Hamdallah says the easily assembled structures are intended for Palestinians whose homes were destroyed in Israeli airstrikes, according to Israel Radio.

Hamdallah adds that the international donor conference to rebuild the coastal enclave may convene in Oslo on September 5, but says the donor countries have threatened to halt aid if the salaries of Hamas employees are paid.

The PA prime minister, who also serves as Minister of Interior in the new unity government, says Egypt would like PA forces to man the Rafah crossing and the Philadelphi Route.

Price tag attack in West Bank

Graffiti bearing the words “price tag” is found on a home in the Palestinian village of Yassouf in the West Bank, police say.

The assailants attempt to torch a car as well.

Police arrive at the scene and open an investigation.

Sirens in Gaza border towns

Gazans struggle with rising prices

In Gaza, the enclave’s already shattered economy is feeling the pinch as prices for staple foods have started to climb.

The market in Gaza City’s Shati refugee camp was bustling Saturday, but many of the camp’s hard-up residents are buying less.

Hamas’s month-long confrontation with Israel has hit agricultural areas badly, pushing up prices.

Khaled Ighrad, 48, who was buying food with his wife and one of his six children, has had to cut back on some key items for his family.

The price of eggs has doubled from 10 shekels (two euros, $3) to 20 since July 8.

“I’m not buying a whole box of eggs, I’m buying half. I’ll buy this and it lasts us for two days,” he says, wistfully looking at the trays of eggs on the stall in front of him.

“Prices have gone up because things like meat and eggs are produced on the border area. We don’t go to the border area any more, so the people only went during the ceasefire.”

Mahir al-Tabaa, head of the Gaza chamber of commerce and industry, agrees the conflict had caused “huge and long term indirect losses” for the economy.

“The direct losses when (Israel) destroyed the economic and industrial establishments and residential buildings is around $3 billion,” he tells AFP.

He says while the price of petrol, which is also imported from Israel and the price of which is controlled by the government, has not changed in the conflict, “the prices of all goods and agricultural produce like vegetables and meat will significantly increase.

“This is a heavy burden,” he says.

In addition to this, the destruction of “350 industrial sites, including more than 50 large, strategic factories” would set unemployment climbing.

The “unemployment level will be around 50 percent after the war, an average of 200,000 people out of work… the level was 41 percent before the conflict,” he says.

One sector still doing a lively trade is tobacco.

In the market at Shati, Abu Salim sits by his small stall, where he sells cigarettes.

Although his prices have increased, he is doing brisk business, and shoppers constantly stop by to pick up a pack of Royals, the brand favored by many Gazans.

A packet of 20 Royals costs eight shekels, one more than before July 8, although Abu Salim has seen no decline in demand.

“In the truce people smoked a pack a day,” he said, referring to the three-day ceasefire that ended on Friday. “After it ended, they smoked two a day, because of the situation in the country,” he says.


West Bank Palestinians name babies for Hamas chief

Channel 1’s Yoram Cohen reports that numerous Palestinians in the West Bank have named their newborn babies for Hamas military chief Mohammed Deif in past weeks.

“Mohammed Deif, that’s the name the baby’s parents in the picture chose for their son born this week. He’s not the first, it’s a trend these days in the West Bank,” Cohen writes on Twitter, alongside a picture of a Palestinian couple with their baby.

4 rockets land in Eshkol; no injuries

Teens’ killing planned, funded by Hamas — Palestinian sources

ToI’s Avi Issacharoff brings us more information on the kidnapping and killing of the three Israeli teens on June 12.

He writes:

“The brother of a Palestinian man arrested as the ringleader of a terror cell that kidnapped and murdered three Israeli teens in June, suspected of funding the attack, has fostered deep Hamas ties since being deported to Gaza, Palestinian security sources said recently.

“Mahmoud Ali Kawasme is a known Hamas operative who was imprisoned in Israel until the Gilad Shalit deal, when he was deported to Gaza under the terms of the agreement, which also obligated the former prisoners to not return to terror.

“Kawasme, though, continued to work with members of Hamas’s military wing there, in an attempt to bring about terror attacks in the West Bank. He maintained contacts with terror operatives in Hebron, as well as other cities like Tulkarm.

“According to Palestinian sources, Mahmoud Kawasme initiated and planned the kidnapping along with his brother Hussam. Senior members of Hamas’s military wing were aware of the plan, and gave him money to fund the attack.”

Read the full story here.

South Korea interested in buying Iron Dome

Yedidia Ya’ari of Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd says South Korea, as well as other countries, has expressed interest in purchasing the Iron Dome missile interceptor system, Reuters reports.

“It is very worried not only about rockets, but other things as well … You can certainly include them in the club of interested countries,” he tells Army Radio.

Ya’ari says he was surprised by the success rate of the Iron Dome system during the Gaza campaign, which stands at around 90 percent, and adds that its accuracy can still be improved.

He also assesses that a technological solution for detection of the tunnels will soon be developed.

Chances of truce talks are ‘weak’ — Hamas

A senior Hamas official says there is a “weak” possibility that Gaza truce talks would succeed and that Palestinian negotiators could leave Cairo after a meeting with Egyptian mediators.

“The possibility of negotiations to succeed is weak. It is possible that the Palestinian delegation will leave to consult its leaders any minute,” Ezzat al-Rishq, who is taking part in the Cairo truce talks, tells AFP.


Defeat Hamas and ‘clean up’ Gaza — Liberman

Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman says: “It’s clear now that Hamas’s minimum demands are far more than the maximum Israel can agree to.”

Speaking outside the cabinet meeting, the foreign minister calls on the government to “defeat Hamas, clean up the area, and exit as quickly as possible.”

Liberman also says the present situation is unsustainable, and criticizes the government for failing to consider his position throughout the campaign.

“This situation cannot continue. If they would have listened to what I proposed on day one, we would already be past this stage,” he says.

On July 7, a day before Operation Protective Edge began, Liberman attacked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s restrained response to the escalating rocket fire in Gaza. Liberman said (as he announced the split of his Yisrael Beytenu party from Netanyahu’s Likud): “The reality in which we live with hundreds of rockets in the hands of a terror organization that can decide at any moment to use them is intolerable. Suggestions to wait, listen, delay – it’s not clear to me what we’re waiting for…. We have to end this.”

A week later, on July 15, he said: “An end result to the operation would see the IDF control Gaza.”

Palestinian male, 17, said killed in Gaza

An Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy on Sunday, Palestinian medics say.

According to emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra, the strike took place in the central town of Deir al-Balah.

His death raised to 15 the total number of Palestinians killed since Hamas resumed fire at Israel on Friday, with the collapse of the 72-hour truce.


We will not negotiate under fire — PM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stresses that Israel will not go on with the Egyptian-brokered negotiations while rockets continue to pummel southern Israel.

“Israel will not negotiate under fire,” he says, reiterating the government’s official policy. “We will do everything to change the present reality, to bring quiet to all citizens.”

“Operation Protective Edge is ongoing,” he says. “At no point did we declare it over. The operation will continue until its goal is met — restoring long-term quiet. I said all along, it will take time and requires patience.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon adds that Hamas’s threats will not change the Israeli position.

“If Hamas thinks it will wear us out, it is wrong,” he says. “We will return to the talks only when there is a ceasefire.”

Ya’alon also addresses safety concerns voiced by many southern residents.

“I understand the southern residents who expect quiet and security. As we said when we started the campaign and throughout — we will not compromise on anything, and we will continue until we achieve a complete cessation of fire.”

Egypt aims to boost Abbas, sources say

Diplomatic sources tell Walla news that Egypt’s goal is to strengthen PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s political standing.

The Egyptian proposal will force Hamas to “recognize that they are second in line, and Abu Mazen [Abbas], as the one who has Egypt’s support, is the leader of the Palestinians who will lead the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip,” the sources say.

The sources stress that while Israel has publicly stated it will not negotiate while rockets rain down, unofficially it continues its contact with Egypt.

Israel security hinges on peace accord — Jordan

Jordan’s King Abdullah II warns that Israel will only achieve security for its people through a peace settlement with the Palestinians leading to the establishment of their own state.

In an interview published by the independent Al-Ghad newspaper, the Jordanian king called the ongoing month-long Gaza conflict “the bloodiest and most devastating in terms of casualties” since Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Strip in 2005, and blamed Israel for the bloodshed.

“First and foremost, Israel is responsible for the aggression in the Strip,” says Abdullah.

“Israel’s security will not be achieved without a genuine pursuit of comprehensive just peace and the two-state solution,” he says, referring to a Palestinian state living side by side with Israel.

“This is the only way for Israel to guarantee its security and gain the acceptance of the region and the entire world.”


Kerry discusses Gaza with Qatari FM

US Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed Al Attiyah over the phone. The two “discussed the latest developments in the Gaza Strip and the efforts exerted thereon,” according to a statement released by the Foreign Ministry in Doha.

Qatar, together with Turkey, is considered one of Hamas’s staunchest supporters in the region.

Raphael Ahren

Snubbed in Cairo, Hamas opts for attrition

ToI’s Avi Issacharoff analyzes Hamas’s decision to resume fire on southern Israel, and Israel’s tempered response:

“While issuing threats since it ended the truce on Friday morning, Hamas has also, through its actions, been indicating that it is not seeking a dramatic re-escalation of the conflict. Its fire on Israel has been relatively limited. That is to say, fewer rockets than at the height of the fighting, and with the salvos concentrated on the Gaza envelope. Only once, on Friday, was there fire on Beersheba. Also, it’s not actually Hamas that is firing. Hamas is allowing Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees to fire but isn’t actually participating itself.

“For its part, the IDF isn’t going wild, either, in its response to the drip-drip of rocket fire on the south. There is no ground force activity, and the airstrikes are more pinpointed — focused on rocket-launch cells and on the hideouts where Hamas stores its rockets, such as the mosque in Nuseirat that was hit on Saturday.

“For now, at least, Hamas wants to be seen as refusing to capitulate. Hence its decision to fire — or allow others to fire — a smattering of rockets and simultaneously hold negotiations. It agreed to those 72 hours of a truce, but was actually slammed by some of the Gazan public for halting the fire while getting nothing in return. It knows Israel is not planning to smash it; hence its attempt to steer toward attrition: shooting, but not too much shooting.”

Read the full piece here.

West Bank boy, 11, shot dead, Palestinians say

Palestinian medics say an 11-year-old Palestinian boy was shot dead near the flashpoint city of Hebron in the southern West Bank.

“Mohammed Khalil al-Anati, 11 years old, was shot and killed in Al-Fawwar refugee camp,” a medical official tells AFP. The camp lies southwest of Hebron.

Witnesses say he was shot by Israeli soldiers. The Israeli military says it was looking into the reports.


Defense Ministry requests extra NIS 17-19b.

The Defense Ministry has sent a request to the Finance Ministry for an additional NIS 17-19 billion in a move that would significantly increase its 2015 budget, Globes reports.

The request includes NIS 6-8 billion to cover the costs of the campaign, and NIS 11 billion to “strengthen” its military force.

The Finance Ministry is said to be against increasing the 2015 defense budget, with Finance Minister Yair Lapid issuing statements last week saying that the current budget is sufficient, and that taxes won’t be raised.

Negotiations are ongoing.

Rocket hits Eshkol region; no injuries

ZAKA requests UN permission to retrieve remains in Gaza

The ZAKA: International Rescue and Recovery organization has penned a letter to UN envoy Robert Serry asking for permission to enter Gaza to retrieve the remains of IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin.

“Given our decades of experience as a UN-recognized international humanitarian volunteer organization in recovering human remains of disaster victims, we turn to you, as the UN Representative in the Middle East, to help facilitate the return of the soldiers’ body parts,” it writes.

In the letter, ZAKA asks the UN to coordinate its entry into the Gaza Strip to collect their remains for a Jewish burial.

Last week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Red Cross for assistance in locating the bodies and returning them to their families for burial.

Palestinian delegation to meet Arab League

The Palestinian delegation will remain in Egypt until tomorrow for an urgent meeting with the Arab League, Reuters reports, citing Egyptian media.

Earlier, the Palestinian team threatened to leave if the Israeli representatives either failed to show up or presented preconditions for the resumption of talks. Israel has stated repeatedly that it will not negotiate under fire.

Rocket sirens in Sderot, Sha’ar Hanegev

Two rocket sirens ring out in quick succession in the Sderot and Sha’ar Hanegev regions, outside of Gaza.

No information yet on casualties or damage.

Palestinians said to agree to 3-day truce

The Palestinian delegation in Cairo reportedly accepts an Egyptian proposal that would call for a three-day ceasefire in order to reinstate talks for a long-term agreement, Army Radio reports, citing Palestinian media.

The proposal was sent to Jerusalem for approval, but a PMO official responding to the report says he “could not go beyond what Netanyahu said this morning.”

At the start of the cabinet meeting earlier today, the prime minister repeated Israel’s stance that “it would not negotiate under fire,” and emphasized that the military campaign was ongoing.

— Raphael Ahren contributed

PA official Saeb Erekat to fly to Cairo

With truce talks faltering, PA official Saeb Erekat is set to travel to Cairo tonight to join the Palestinian team and push for an agreement, Ynet reports.

Erekat will meet Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry and Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi.

Rockets explode near Sderot, spark fire

Two missiles land in an open area outside of Sderot, and ignite a brush fire, Ynet reports.

Sirens in Gaza border towns

90 Gaza sites hit since midnight

Israel has struck 90 targets inside the Gaza Strip since midnight, as efforts continue to restore a ceasefire, Channel 2 reports.

Sirens sound in Ashkelon, Gaza border

Sirens in Ashkelon

6 detainees from Gaza op indicted

An indictment was issued in the Beersheba District Court against six terror suspects from Hamas and Islamic Jihad. According to the indictment, the six suspects were involved in firing rockets and mortars at Israel.

They were charged with attempted murder, contact with a foreign agent, membership in an illegal organization, weapons charges, and illegal military training.


Sirens in Sdot Negev, Netivot

Kerem Shalom crossing closed

The border crossing at Kerem Shalom in the southern Gaza Strip is closed by the Defense Ministry after rockets were fired in its direction, Ynet reports.

The Border Crossings Authority says that trucks carrying flammable material were nearly struck by rockets, prompting the decision to shut the crossing.

 Trucks carrying fuel for the Gaza Strip enter Rafah town through the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2014. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB)

Trucks carrying fuel for the Gaza Strip enter Rafah through the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and the southern Gaza Strip on March 16, 2014. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO/ SAID KHATIB)

The Kerem Shalom border crossing had stayed open throughout most of the conflict, and trucks carrying medical supplies from Israel have regularly crossed into the Strip in order to transfer aids to the Palestinians in Gaza.

Rocket intercepted over Netivot

Iron Dome takes out a rocket over the southern city of Netivot, while two others hit open areas in the Sdot Negev Regional Council.

Palestinian negotiators confirm 72-hr ceasefire

Palestinian negotiators on Sunday say they had accepted an Egyptian proposal for a new 72-hour truce with Israel, clearing the way for a possible resumption of talks on a long-term cease-fire arrangement in the Gaza Strip.

“We are here to look for an agreement. We cannot have an agreement without talks, so we accepted an Egyptian proposal to have a ceasefire for 72 hours in order to resume the talks,” says a Palestinian negotiator.

He, along with other Palestinian negotiators who confirmed the decision, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations with the media.

— AP

Hamas says it’s examining ceasefire proposal

A Hamas spokesman confirms that the group received an Egyptian ceasefire proposal and says the group’s leadership is contemplating whether to accept it.

“There is a proposal for another 72-hour truce [to allow] for the continuation of negotiations,” Sami Abu Zuhri tell AFP in Gaza, without saying when it would begin.

“This proposal is being studied,” he says, adding that the group would decide based on “the seriousness of the Israelis.”

Sirens in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council

Hamas smuggles cash for salaries into Gaza

Hamas manages to smuggle millions of dollars into the Gaza Strip, using the money to pay salaries to thousands of workers, a Gaza-based news agency reports, after two months of no payments.

According to the report, over the past few hours, salaries were given to all members of Hamas’s military wing, and in the coming hours the salaries of government officials in the Strip will be paid as well. It is unclear how Hamas managed to transfer the money into the Strip or whether the move was intended to quell unrest in the Palestinian enclave, thus paving the way for a ceasefire. The unpaid salaries of Hamas members were the focus of a major dispute between Fatah and Hamas, and were a significant factor prompting the recent escalation in Gaza.

— Avi Issacharoff

Police to question Hanin Zoabi tomorrow

MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad) is expected to be questioned by police tomorrow on suspicion that she incited to violence. The investigation was ordered after a policeman filed a complaint against her, claiming she yelled racial epithets at him during a hearing at the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court.

MK Hanin Zoabi of the Arab Balad party seen during a plenum session in the Knesset on April 29, 2013 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

MK Hanin Zoabi of the Arab Balad party seen during a plenum session in the Knesset on April 29, 2013 (photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Police to examine Palestinian child’s death

Military Police say they will launch an investigation into the death of an 11-year-old Palestinian child, Khalil Muhammad Ahmad al-Anati, who was killed earlier today as a result of IDF fire in the al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of the West Bank city of Hebron.

“During IDF operational activities a violent riot erupted during which an IDF force opened fire and killed a Palestinian minor,” the army says.

“The IDF regrets his death. The incident will be investigated by the Military Police.”

Anati was rushed to the al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron after he was shot in the back, the Palestinian Ma’an News Agency reports. His death was announced a short while later.

Before the young boy was shot, IDF forces escorted Israeli engineers into a neighborhood in the refugee camp, locals tell Ma’an.

“We don’t know what they (the Israelis) were doing,” Yussef al-Anati told AFP

“Khalil was playing in front of the house, then we heard gunfire. The kid was screaming and fell down,” he said. “He was shot in the back and the bullet exited through his stomach.”

Sirens in Eshkol Regional Council

Hamas calls for ‘honorable’ ceasefire terms

A senior Hamas official taking part in the ceasefire talks in Cairo says the Palestinian delegation aims “to secure an honorable agreement for the Palestinian people.”

If such an agreement is not reached, the officials says, it is “better that there be no agreement at all.”

He adds that Hamas was very interested in “giving ceasefire talks a chance,” Ynet reports.

Government okays assistance for reservists

The government approves a proposal to establish a fund to provide assistance and compensation to reserve soldiers who served in Operation Protective Edge.

The proposal was submitted to the government by Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

WATCH: Rockets fired at trucks in Kerem Shalom

Video footage of rocket fire at the Kerem Shalom border crossing is uploaded to YouTube.

The border crossing at Kerem Shalom in the southern Gaza Strip was closed earlier today by the Defense Ministry after rockets were fired in its direction.

The Border Crossings Authority says that trucks carrying flammable material were nearly struck by rockets, prompting the decision to shut the crossing.

The crossing had stayed open throughout most of the conflict, and trucks carrying medical supplies from Israel have regularly crossed into the Strip in order to transfer aid to the Palestinians in Gaza.

Gaza war ‘about good guys, bad guys’ — Livni

The current war in Gaza is not about Israelis versus Palestinians, or about the world supporting the Palestinians against Israel, but about the “good guys in this region against the bad guys,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni says. “It’s as simple as that.”

In one corner, there is the “camp of pragmatics, so-called moderates” — Israel, the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and some Gulf states. These states pursue goals supported by the international community. In the other corner, Livni says, there are the extremist Islamists in Hamas, Hezbollah and the new radical Sunni groups in Iraq in Syria.

The moderates should “work together” to defeat the radicals, Livni tells reporters during a press conference. “Nobody can afford a message to these extremists that are killing civilians all over this region — a message of weakness is not acceptable. Nobody can afford to send the message that those that are [perpetrating] terror against civilians are going to get what the want.”

Reiterating her plan for “the day after” the military operation, Livni calls for the demilitarization of Gaza alongside the supervised reconstruction Gaza’s civilian infrastructure. The PA should again man the crossings from Gaza into Israel and Egypt, she adds.

The disarmament of Gaza of “all illicit arms” can start by “preventing rearmament,” she explains. “The good news” is that Egypt has recently stopped all weapons smuggling between Sinai and the Strip,” Livni says. “This is one way to stop smuggling to Gaza. The other is by supervising and having a mechanism that prevents any rearmament of Hamas and also takes the support that the international community would give to the population of Gaza without strengthening Hamas.”

Livni, Israel’s chief peace negotiator with the PA, also calls for the renewal of talks with the PA, as peace remains a vital “Israeli interest,” she says.

— Raphael Ahren

No ceasefire while rockets fall, Israel says

Jerusalem is nixing the 72-hour ceasefire proposal as long as rockets continue to be launched at the country’s south, a senior Israeli official tells The Times of Israel. “As we speak, they continue to target the communities on our side of the border. It’s clear there’s no ceasefire.”

A rocket is fired from Gaza City towards Israel, Saturday, August 9, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Dusan Vranic)

A rocket is fired from Gaza City towards Israel, Saturday, August 9, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Dusan Vranic)

An Israeli delegation will not return to the negotiating table until there’s a ceasefire, the senior official adds. Responding to reports that the Palestinians have accepted a 72-hour truce, the official said, “Actions speak louder than words.”

— Raphael Ahren

We may have no choice but another land op, minister says

Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch asserts that if rocket fire from the Gaza Strip persists, Israel will have no choice but to order another ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave.

“As soon as the door shuts, and it is clear that negotiations will not yield any results, and we continue to see [the firing of rockets] – we will probably have no choice but to go in [to Gaza],” he says during an interview with Army Radio.

“And then we will need to overpower [Hamas], and not just enter for a short term. It is impossible to escape [this move].”

No Israeli delegation heading to Cairo

A senior Israeli official denies that an Israeli delegation is on its way to Cairo for ceasefire talks, saying that Egyptian reports claiming otherwise were false.

Rocket lands in Beersheba, no sirens sound

Sirens fail to go off in Beersheba even as a rocket lands in the city. Security forces are searching the city in order to locate the area where the rocket fell.

Officials are testing the alarm system in the city, Ynet reports.

AFP reports 72-hour ceasefire agreed upon

Israel and Hamas agree to a 72-hour ceasefire. The agreement was reached in Cairo, AFP says.

More details to follow.

Gaza ready for 2 million martyrs, cleric says

A Muslim cleric delivering a sermon among the ruins of the al-Sousi Mosque in the Gaza Strip says the Palestinian nation is ready to sacrifice two million martyrs in its war against Israel.

“We will not let go of our weapons, even if the number of martyrs exceeds two million, not just 2,000,” the unnamed cleric says.

“The Palestinian nation is ready to sacrifice two million martyrs, for the sake of the holiest and most just cause on the face of the earth. We are ready to sacrifice all the sons of the Palestinian people for this holy cause,” he continues.

The estimated population of the Gaza Strip is about 1.7 million.

The cleric goes on to pray that all Jews be eliminated.

“Oh Allah, destroy the Jews, those who support the Jews, those who side with the Jews, cooperate with the Jews, trade with the Jews, or open a gateway for them into the land of Islam.”

The sermon, which was delivered on Friday, was broadcast on al-Jazeera.

Israel still discussing ceasefire proposal

A new 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza has been agreed upon, following mediation by Egypt, a Palestinian official says, although there is no immediate confirmation from Israel.

The official tells AFP that Egypt had received “simultaneous consensus” from both sides and would officially announce the timing for the start of the ceasefire.

In Israel, an official says the Egyptian truce proposal is still being debated.

“They are discussing it now,” he announces.


Egypt urges Israel, Palestinians to accept ceasefire

Egypt calls on Israel and the Palestinians to accept a ceasefire beginning at one a.m. Monday.

The Prime Minister’s Office has yet to comment on reports that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire.

According to Channel 2, an Israeli delegation has reached Cairo to finalize the agreement.

2 rockets explode in Sha’ar Hanegev area

Two rockets fall in open fields in the Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council. No injuries or damage are reported.

Aharonovitch doubtful ceasefire ‘will hold’

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch says Israel “won’t negotiate under fire,” adding that he was unaware that Israel had agreed to a 72-hour truce with the Palestinian factions.

During a Channel 2 interview, Aharonovitch says he does not think the ceasefire “will hold.”

Israel will send negotiators to Cairo if ceasefire holds

If there is quiet from midnight through to the morning, Israel will accept that there is a temporary ceasefire and send its negotiators back to Cairo for talks in the morning, Channel 2 says, quoting a senior government official.

Egypt calls for Gaza ceasefire, new talks

Egypt calls on Israel and the Palestinian factions to observe a 72-hour ceasefire beginning within hours, and to resume talks on a more comprehensive Gaza agreement.

The announcement by Egypt’s Foreign Ministry comes after hours of talks with Palestinian factions in Cairo, in which they accepted the proposal. A Foreign Ministry spokesman said the announcement would not have been made if the ceasefire agreement was not secured, indicating that Israel had also accepted the proposal.

The statement said the ceasefire would begin at 1 a.m. and would create the atmosphere to resume humanitarian aid as well as indirect talks, through Egypt, to reach a more lasting and comprehensive ceasefire.

— AP

Sirens in Gaza periphery

Ministers call to slam Hamas harder

Two of the eight ministers in the key security cabinet, Gilad Erdan and Avigdor Liberman, spoke to the media at the cabinet meeting today about the need to deal Hamas a severe blow in order to eliminate rocket and tunnel threats.

A third minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, said he doubted any truce would hold and that Israel would likely have to mount a wider ground offensive. But Channel 2 says Netanyahu is resisting that pressure.

Gilad Erdan said the government is “getting close to the point where we’ll have to take a decision.” It seemed very likely that Israel would have to “retake” Gaza, “with all that this entails,” since the rocket fire was not stopping, he added.

As for Liberman, he stated that “from the start [I said] that we had to defeat Hamas decisively. Hamas’s minimum demands were more than the maximum Israel would accept. If we’d followed my advice from Day One… we’d be past that stage. We have to defeat Hamas and clean the territory [of Hamas].”

Amos Yadlin, the former IDF Military Intelligence chief, says — as he has been saying for the past few weeks — that Israel “did not hit Hamas hard enough” in the military offensive. “Hamas has to be weakened” to the point where Mahmoud Abbas can reassert control in Gaza.

Police investigating President Rivlin

Police are investigating allegations of financial impropriety against newly inaugurated President Reuven Rivlin, Channel 2 reports. Preliminary findings have been passed to the attorney general.

Rivlin denies any wrongdoing, and says the issue has been investigated twice in the past and the case was closed.

The allegations relate to monthly payments of thousands of shekels made to him more than 10 years ago by building contractor David “Dudi” Appel, who is currently serving time for bribery in an unrelated case.

Israeli officials confirm ceasefire

Israel accepts an Egyptian proposal for a new 72-hour ceasefire with Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip.

The move clears the way for the resumption of indirect talks on a long-term ceasefire arrangement in Hamas-ruled Gaza after a month of heavy fighting.

Egypt brokered a similar truce last week. But after the three-day window, Palestinian groups resumed rocket fire on Israel and new fighting erupted.

The Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media, say they accept Egypt’s latest offer. But they add they are wary after last week’s breakdown.

The ceasefire will take effect at midnight, and not at 1 a.m. Monday, as was reported earlier.

Rocket explodes in open field in Sdot Negev

A rocket lands in an open field in Sdot Negev. No injuries or damage are reported.

10 bodies found in Gaza rubble

Ten bodies of Palestinian casualties were recovered from under the rubble in the Gaza Strip, says Ashraf al-Kidra, spokesman for the Gaza Health Ministry. Their identities are still unknown, he adds.

Bennett says mission in Gaza not accomplished

Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett says Israel did not achieve its goals during Operation Protective Edge.

“The Israeli government defined the target of Operation Protective Edge when it was launched — to return security to residents of the south,” he says during a conference organized by Israel National News.

“Now we need to look soberly and honestly and admit that the mission has not been accomplished.”

Hamas chief calls to lift Gaza blockade

A lasting truce must lead to the lifting by Israel of its blockade of the Gaza Strip, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal tells AFP in an exclusive interview in Doha.

The 72-hour ceasefire Hamas reached with Israel on Sunday “is one of the ways or tactics to ensure successful negotiations or to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza,” says Mashaal.

Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal, June 23, 2014 (photo credit: YouTube image)

Hamas political bureau chief Khaled Mashaal, June 23, 2014 (photo credit: YouTube image)

“We insist on this goal. In the case of Israeli procrastination or continued aggression, Hamas is ready with other Palestinian factions to resist on ground and politically and… to face all possibilities,” he says.

The remarks by Mashaal, who lives in exile in Qatar, come as Israeli and Palestinian negotiators on Sunday accepted an Egyptian proposal for a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza from one minute past midnight local time.


‘No technological solution to tunnels’

The head of the IDF’s Southern Command Sami Turgeman says that  “there is no technological system in the world that can give a good solution to the [terror] tunnels,” according to Ynet.

“We drilled and found four tunnels even before the operation began.”

Turgeman adds that “when the time was ripe to strike against the tunnels, we launched an operation and destroyed all the tunnels we knew of. Every time we located a tunnel, we’d enter it and destroy it.”

Pro-Israel rally in Oslo

Close to 500 people take part in a rally in support of Israel in the Norwegian capital of Oslo.

The rally was organized by pro-Israeli organization MIFF (Med Israel for Fred, or With Israel for Peace in Norwegian).

A pro-Palestinian crowd showed up at the demonstration as well, but no confrontations were reported, according to Norwegian media.

Airstrike hits near Reuters office in Gaza

An Israeli airstrike hits a target right near a Reuters office in the Gaza Strip.

No injuries were reported.The IDF did not comment on the incident or the target of the attack.

Hamas holding body of IDF soldier

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon tells the family of IDF soldier Oron Shaul, whose body was not retrieved after he was killed during a battle in Gaza City’s Shejaiya area, that Israel is doing everything possible to bring Shaul’s body back to Israel.

According to a tweet by a reporter from Haaretz, Ya’alon says that Shaul’s body is in the hands of Hamas fighters in the Strip.

According to Egyptian media, Israel negotiated with Hamas for the return of body parts of soldiers Shaul and Hadar Goldin, in return for freeing Hamas captives from the past few weeks.

Israel’s Channel 2 says reports indicate Israel would return eight bodies and some 15 captured Hamas gunmen. Israeli officials were later quoted as denying the reports, and branding them psychological warfare.

Netanyahu, Rivlin praise Israelis’ unity

President Reuven Rivlin says he completely supports Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, adding that the three are handling the Gaza conflict in a responsible manner.

“I would like to take this opportunity and express my full confidence in the abilities of the IDF forces that took into consideration Israel’s security and Israel’s needs,” continues Rivlin, during a meeting with Netanyahu.

“I see some wonderful unity when a storm is upon us and I ask all those who applaud us and say what great unity. Why is it that we are not so united all the time?”

Netanyahu thanks Rivlin, adding that Israel has stood by its word not to negotiate with Hamas under rocket fire.

“We’ve proved that we stand behind that statement,” he says.

“Since Hamas violated the ceasefire on Friday, the IDF has hurt the group very badly,” continues Netanyahu.

The PM asserts that Israel is “determined to achieve the goal of Operation Protective Edge,” which is to assure security and quiet to the residents of Israel for an extended period of time.

“We’ve said since the beginning of the operation, either we will achieve this militarily or politically, or through a combination of the two,” continues the prime minister.

Netanyahu praises the citizens of Israel for their bravery throughout the operation, and calls on the public to stay united as the war goes on.

Palestinians say 3 killed in Gaza

Palestinian health officials report that three people were killed in IDF airstrikes in the Gaza Strip over the past few hours.

Concert for troops nixed because singer is a woman

A scheduled concert for soldiers by Israeli singer Sarit Hadad has been cancelled by the commander of the Givati Brigade, apparently so as not to offend religious soldiers who feel it inappropriate for a woman to perform in front of men.

The decision was made by Col. Ofer Winter, an observant Orthodox Jew.

A spokesperson for Hadad says the singer would nevertheless be happy to perform. The concert will take place as planned, although Hadad will be replaced by Moshe Peretz, Ynet reports.

Winter had come under criticism recently, after composing a letter to his subordinate officers in which he called upon the divine to assist Israel in fighting a “blasphemous” foe in the Gaza Strip.

“History has chosen us to spearhead the fighting (against) the terrorist ‘Gazan’ enemy, which abuses, blasphemes and curses the God of Israel’s (defense) forces,” he wrote.

Sarit Hadad (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash 90)

Sarit Hadad (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash 90)

“We have planned and prepared for this moment and we take the mission upon ourselves out of commitment, complete humility, and because we are prepared to endanger ourselves and lay down our lives in order to protect our families, our people and our homeland,” he added.

Several days later, Winter said that divine miracles protected his soldiers during the fighting in the Gaza Strip.

He said that a predawn raid that was intended to make use of the dark as concealment was delayed, forcing the soldiers to move toward their objective as the sun was about to rise. The soldiers were in danger of being revealed in the light but, Winter recalled, a heavy fog descended to cover their movements until the objective was achieved.

IDF Col. Ofer Winter (left). (YouTube Screenshot)

IDF Col. Ofer Winter (left). (photo credit: screenshot YouTube)

“Suddenly a cloud protected us,” he said, making a reference to the clouds that the Bible says protected the Israelites as they wandered in the desert. “Clouds of glory.”

Only when the soldiers were in a secure position did the fog dissipate, he said.

2 arrested for throwing rocks at Jerusalem train

Border Police forces arrest an adult and a minor on suspicion of hurling stones at the light rail train in East Jerusalem’s Shu’afat neighborhood.

No injuries are reported in the incident, although damage was caused to the train’s windshield.

No tunnel threat in north, IDF commander says

Yair Golan, the head of the Northern Command in the IDF, says the military “is not aware of the threat of terror tunnels crossing over from Lebanon into Israel,” Walla reports.

However, Golan stresses that the IDF is equipped to deal with such a scenario.

Sirens in Kissufim, Ein Hashlosha, Nirim

Anti-Semitic posters hang on walls in Rome

Several anti-Semitic posters are found hanging on the walls of Rome in the past two days. The posters, written in Italian, share the message “Do Not Buy from The Jews!” and contain a list of Jewish-owned stores that should be boycotted.

“If you buy from these infamous people, you will contribute to the killing of other thousands of women, children, and elderly,” claim the posters.

The mayor of the city has published a statement condemning the posters and comparing them to the ones seen during the times of Fascism in Italy. The posters are currently being removed from the walls of the city.

— Simone Somekh

IDF thwarts attack at border crossing

IDF soldiers, as well as IAF aircraft, open fire on a group of six operatives who try to cross the border near the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reports.

At the end of a fierce firefight, the IDF says it has successfully thwarted the attack. There are no immediate reports of Israeli casualties.

Bennett opposes temporary ceasefire

Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett says he is opposed to a temporary ceasefire with Palestinian factions and that he prefers negotiating instead for a more prolonged truce.

“Every limited ceasefire gives Hamas motivation to renew the fire at the end of the predetermined period,” Walla quotes him as saying. “Israel needs to demand an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire and hit hard as long as there isn’t one.”

Rocket hits Eshkol region

With barely a half-hour to go until a 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, rockets slam into communities in southern Israel near the Gaza Strip.

One rocket explodes in the Eshkol Region, causing damage to a building.

There are no reports of injuries.

Minutes before ceasefire, explosion heard over greater Tel Aviv region

Some ten minutes before the 72-hour ceasefire between Israel and Hamas went into effect, a loud explosion was heard in the Gush Dan area in central Israel, prompting speculation that an Iron Dome interception of a rocket had occurred.

The Code Red siren did not sound in the region.