Israel-Gaza conflict: US Secretary of State John Kerry's mission to secure a ceasefire continues, but Israelis want to be the clear victors

Experts say Israel is continuing the military campaign because of the domestic political needs of Benjamin Netanyahu's government

Jerusalem

Israel’s security cabinet met last night  to discuss the latest conflict in Gaza and extended a 24-hour ceasefire. “At the request of the United Nations, the cabinet has approved a humanitarian hiatus until tomorrow at midnight. The IDF (Israel Defence Force) will act against any breach of the ceasefire,” an official, who requested anonymity, said. He added that Israel would still try to dismantle Hamas-dug tunnels during the lull.

Hamas had earlier rejected a four-hour extension to the ceasefire and was reportedly not willing either to accept the fresh proposal of a further day. Israel said rockets had been fired yesterday evening with two Israelis reportedly injured. There was no retaliation reported last night.

The negotiations came the day after proposals by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, for a more permanent ceasefire had been rebuffed by Israel. US-brokered diplomatic contacts were simultaneously continuing with their efforts. “The situation is fluid,’’ a senior Israeli official said

Hamas also rejected Mr Kerry’s proposals, political bureau member Mohammed Nazzal told Al-Jazeera late on Friday.

Israel’s public security minister Yitzhak Aharonovich signalled there will be no agreement to a lasting ceasefire as quickly as Mr Kerry would like. “We shouldn’t agree to a prolonged ceasefire as long as there are big threats facing Israel,” he said. “We appreciate Kerry’s efforts but we have to worry about the threatened citizens,” he said.

Removing the threat from tunnels was the stated reason for Israel launching its ground offensive in Gaza 10 days ago, following an aerial campaign whose stated goal was to halt rocket fire from Gaza against Israel. Forty Israeli soldiers and three civilians in Israel have, so far,  been killed during the conflict.

Life goes on: An Israeli soldier meets his family during the 12-hour ceasefire yesterday Life goes on: An Israeli soldier meets his family during the 12-hour ceasefire yesterday

Israel appears to have thought that increasing military pressure could force Hamas to accept a ceasefire that does not address the Islamist movement’s demands for a lifting of Israeli and Egyptian strictures that cripple the Gaza economy.

Israeli analyst Akiva Eldar, senior correspondent of the Al-Monitor website, says that Israel is continuing the military campaign and rebuffed the ceasefire because of the domestic political needs of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government. “The government is trapped by its own portrayal of the tunnels as an existential threat to Israel. If they are an existential threat, how can you stop the war before the tunnels are finished [off]?

“For the government, the result of this war can’t be a tie. It has to be clear who is the winner and that means that the chief of staff can say that the army destroyed all the tunnels.’’

In Paris yesterday, Mr Kerry spearheaded further diplomatic efforts to reach a halt of devastating Israeli military operations in Gaza and Hamas rocket fire at Israel. A meeting between Mr Kerry and the foreign ministers of France, Britain, Germany and Italy, and of Hamas allies Qatar and Turkey, produced a call on both sides to extend the humanitarian ceasefire that was in effect for 12 hours yesterday.

Beach life continues in Israel Beach life continues in Israel

Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, said in Paris that ministers had agreed that a longer truce was needed to prevent further loss of life. “The necessity right now is to stop the loss of life and you stop the loss of life by getting this ceasefire to roll over for 12 hours, or 24 hours, or 48 hours and then again and again,” he said.

According to a report in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, Mr Kerry’s proposal had stipulated a temporary ceasefire for a week, starting today, during which the Israeli army would not completely leave Gaza and would continue its anti-tunnel operations. However, Arab officials, quoted by the Times of Israel website, said that the army would have to cease the anti-tunnel operations with the start of the ceasefire.

Haaretz said that during the ceasefire, negotiations between Israel and Hamas – with Egypt serving as an intermediary – would commence on reaching an “ongoing and stable” arrangement between the two sides. It added that the US, the UN and the EU would give guarantees to the two sides that the talks would cover, as Israel demands, a demilitarisation of the Gaza Strip and, as Hamas is demanding, the lifting of Israeli and Egyptian border strictures, which is stifling Gaza’s economy.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Could you tell the difference between this and an organic alternative?
food + drink

Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'

Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to US
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

News
New look: Zellweger at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday

Actress sees off speculation about her face in an amazing way

Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidates on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
News
One of the 'princesses' in the video
videoYouTube reinstates sweary video after takedown for 'violating terms'
News
Call me Superman: one of many unusual names chosen by Chinese students
newsChinese state TV offers advice for citizens picking a Western moniker
Arts and Entertainment
film

Marvel has released first teaser trailer week early after it leaked online

Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SEN Teaching Assistant

£70 - £85 per day: Randstad Education Group: SEN Teaching Assistants needed in...

Year 4 Teacher required for 2 terms

£21500 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Accounts Assistant - Sales Ledger, Sage Line 50 - St Albans

£20000 - £22000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A highly successful and w...

EBD Teacher

£120 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a quailed Teacher ...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?