Israel agrees to cease-fire in Gaza, but Hamas rejects plan
By Batsheva Sobelman and Carol J. Williams
Related: Israel repeatedly failed to say 'No!' when conscience demanded it by Rabbi Dov Fischer
ERUSALEM (MCT) Israel's Cabinet has accepted Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire with Hamas Tuesday to at least temporarily end an artillery exchange between the two sides that has killed at least 175 Palestinians during the last week, the prime minister's office said.
Hamas rejected the proposal a senior Hamas official told the Associated Press.
A proposal by Egyptian mediators late Monday called for both sides to observe a cease-fire within 12 hours of acceptance and to sit down with mediators in Cairo within 48 hours of suspending all land, sea and air strikes.
There had been no Israeli deaths in the conflict as of early Tuesday.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas did not immediately issue a formal reply to the Egyptian proposal. Officials of the Hamas militia that controls Gaza were scornful.
"There is no real effort yet, and none of the offers meet the conditions and demands necessary for the level of blood spilled," a Hamas official told The Los Angeles Times, citing the proposal's failure to require the lifting of Israel's blockade of Palestinian territory or the opening of all border crossings with Egypt and Israel.
Hamas also demanded the release of Palestinians jailed in recent Israeli military sweeps, an end to all aggression against Palestinian territory and a halt to Israeli attempts to disrupt the work of the Palestinians' national unity government, the militia official said.
Abbas, in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on Monday asked that an urgent meeting of the Security Council be convened to respond to his request for international protection under U.N. auspices of Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
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