The Israeli cabinet rejected a cease-fire proposal backed by the US to the 18-day old conflict in Gaza which has killed over 800 Palestinians, most of whom were civilians.
The cease-fire initiative proposed by US Secretary of State John Kerry was unanimously rejected by Israel’s security cabinet, reportedly due to Israel’s need for the conflict to continue so its forces can destroy the Hamas tunnels it has been targeting.
The head of Israel’s southern command, General Sami Turgeman, said that more time was needed to destroy the Hamas tunnels, adding that “we know that there are other timetables that can affect us, and we will use all the time that we have at our disposal.”
Israel’s rejection of the cease-fire came as shelling continued in Gaza, and as tensions grew in the West Bank after Israeli security forces killed several Palestinians protesting the high civilian death toll in Gaza.
Israeli airstrikes on Gaza continued on Friday, with the killing of Islamic Jihad propagandist Salah Hasanein and two of his sons in Khan Yunis. Another attack on a house in central Gaza killed two women, one of whom was pregnant, emergency services spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said.
Israel said an army reservist was killed in Gaza on Friday, bringing the number of soldiers lost to 33 since Israel started its ground operation into Gaza
In the West Bank, Palestinian factions declared a “Day of Rage” after a night of clashes over Israel’s aggression on Gaza. Some 10,000 demonstrators marched in the West Bank in solidarity with Gaza overnight, a scale recalling mass revolts of the past.
Protesters surged against an Israeli army checkpoint, hurling rocks and Molotov cocktails, with Palestinian medics saying that one Palestinian was shot dead and 200 injured when troops opened fire.