Israel and the Palestinian factions in Gaza began an Egyptian-proposed 72-hour cease-fire at 8 A.M on Tuesday, the 29th day of Operation Protective Edge. Rockets were fired from Gaza at southern and central Israel, as well as into the West Bank, until the very last minute before the lull began.
The Israel Defense Forces withdrew its the last of its forces at 8 P.M. and said it has demolished all of Hamas' known tunnels, some of which have been used to breach Israel's border and carry out attacks.An Israeli delegation is expected to leave for Cairo in the next few days to negotiate a more permanent agreement, with Egyptian mediation. A Palestinian delegation, including members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, was already in Cairo.
Officials in Gaza say more than 1,800 Palestinians were killed during the operation, most of them civilians. Sixty-four IDF soldiers and three Israeli civilians have been killed since fighting began on July 8.
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Live updates [Tuesday]:
2:27 A,M. Jordan circulated a revised UN resolution Tuesday calling for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza and condemning "all violence and hostilities against civilians."
Jordan's new UN Ambassador Dina Kawar said the draft resolution, backed by the Palestinians and Arab nations, was submitted to the Security Council in a form that could be put to a vote.
Kawar said Jordan is "very happy" with the 72-hour cease-fire announced late Monday and its main purpose in the resolution is to make the cessation of hostilities permanent and have it lead to a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations and reconstruction of Gaza.
"We are in consultation with all council members and we hope by the next day or two that we come with a product," she said.
Britain's UN Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant said council ambassadors will meet at 9 a.m. EDT on Wednesday to discuss the new draft. (AP)
1:45 A.M. Egypt proposes a cease-fire extension to Israel and Palestinian representatives, according to reports in Lebanon.
12:17 A.M. U.K. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg tweets the following: "The Israeli military operation has overstepped the mark in #Gaza and I believe arms export licenses should be suspended." (Haaretz)
11:37 P.M. Security cabinet meeting on cease-fire in Gaza ends after six hours. (Barak Ravid)
11:15 P.M. Israeli authorities said on Tuesday they had arrested a Palestinian suspected of being involved in the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers in June.
Hussam Kawasme, a 40-year-old resident of the West Bank city of Hebron, was arrested on July 11 in connection with the killing of Israelis Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Fraenkel and Eyal Yifrah, who went missing on June 12 and were discovered dead a couple of weeks later.
Kawasme's arrest was made public for the first time on Tuesday in a document from an Israeli court case over whether houses belonging to him and two other suspects - who remain at large - should be destroyed as a punitive measure.
The lawyers listed as representing Kawasme were not reachable for comment.
The court document said Kawasme had admitted to helping to organise the kidnapping - securing funding from the Hamas Islamist group in Gaza and purchasing weapons which he passed on to the two other suspects who carried out the attack.
Kawasme also helped to bury the bodies of the teenagers in a plot of land he had bought a few months earlier, it said.
Israel has named the other two suspects in the case as Marwan Kawasme and Amar Abu Aysha. (Reuters)
9:35 P.M. During Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, 64 soldiers and three Israeli civilians have been killed. The IDF called-up 82,201 reserves, and carried out strikes on 4,762 targets in Gaza. Since the beginning of the Israeli campaign, 2,648 projectiles were fired at Israel, 116 of them landed in urban areas. The Iron Dome defense interceptor missiles shot down 578 rockets. In addition, the IDF detected 119 rockets which fell short and exploded in the Strip. The IDF destroyed 32 tunnels. (Gili Cohen)
9:25 P.M. 408 children have been killed in Israel's assault on Gaza, and almost a thousand times as many are traumatized and face an "extraordinarily bleak" future, Pernille Ironside, head of the field office run by UNICEF in Gaza, says.
Palestinian children account for 31 percent of all civilian casualties in Gaza. More than 70 percent of the 251 boys and 157 girls killed were 12 or younger. UNICEF estimates about 373,000 children have had some kind of direct traumatic experience and require immediate psycho-social support, she says.
"If you're over the age of seven, you've already lived through two previous wars," and the latest escalation was far worse than those in 2008-9 and 2012, Ironside said.
"It is an extraordinary thing to live through, and especially to survive and witness the use of incredibly damaging weapons that tend to slice people with terrible amputations and maimings, shredding people apart in front of children's eyes and in front of their parents as well," she says. (Reuters)
8:32 P.M. An Israeli delegation consisting of three people arrive in Cairo for cease-fire talk, a source tells Haaretz. The delegation landed at the airport and was taken by Egyptian intelligence straight to the talks, the source says. (Jack Khoury)
6:23 P.M. Home Front Command lifts ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people in central Israel. (Gili Cohen)
4:20 P.M. The security cabinet will meet at the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv at 5:30 P.M. (Barak Ravid)
4:07 P.M. "The test will take time, we need to do everything to prevent Hamas from constructing attack tunnels, even if it means [IDF] ground operations," GOC Southern Command Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman told reporters after all of IDF forces left the Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning and completed its operation to destroy all known tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel. The IDF's Gaza Division plans to continue and demolish a number of tunnel shafts located in Israeli territory in the near future.
"It took Hamas years to build its flagship project, the tunnels. We've completed our mission in full, we've located and destroyed all infiltration tunnels," he said. "Operation Protective Edge is not over. The forces are deployed around the Strip ready to continue."
To residents of communities near the Gaza border, Turgeman said that they can return home safely. "I am certain that the operational reality [around Gaza] is better and safer." Turgeman also had a message for Hamas, which violated several humanitarian cease-fires during the four weeks of the operation. "If Hamas breaches this cease-fire, it would be a grave mistake. Hamas was hit very hard and I think as a result of the operation, there is significant deterrence potential."
3:35 P.M. Attorney General rejects MK Haneen Zoabi's request to see investigative materials against her. Zoabi's representatives responded by saying that while she disagreed with the AG's decision, she would willingly present herself at the hearing in order to give a statement and clarify her version of the events. Zoabi was suspended from Knesset for a period of six months over allegations of incitement and defending the West Bank kidnappers. (Revital Hovel)
3:20 P.M. Residents of towns on the Gaza border will hold a tent protest outside the Knesset at 6 P.M., calling on the government to ensure the their communities continue to be granted security support. (Shirley Seidler)
2:34 P.M. The last IDF soldier left Gaza at 8 A.M., following a month of aerial and ground attacks. The IDF completed its operation to destroy all of the tunnels crossing the Gaza-Israel within Israeli intelligence. The army will continue to operate over the course of the day against the openings of these tunnels within Israeli territory and on fixing the fence in the area, which was partially destroyed during the fighting. (Gili Cohen)
1:50 P.M. A security guard was moderately wounded Tuesday afternoon in stabbing attack near the police station at the entrance to Ma'aleh Adumim, near Jerusalem. Police suspect terrorist motive. The guard, in his mid-50s, open fired on the assailant but missed the target. The assailant managed to escape to the village Azaria nearby. (Chaim Levinson and Jonathan Lis)
12:55 P.M. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad al-Malki says after meeting prosecutors at the International Criminal Court that there was "clear evidence" that Israel committed war crimes in Gaza.
"In last 28 days, there is clear evidence of war crimes committed by Israel amounting to crimes against humanity," Malki told reporters after meetings at the ICC.
Malki said his administration was making efforts to have Palestine become a member of the court, a legal step that would grant the ICC jurisdiction over alleged crimes in the territory. (Reuters)
11:54 A.M. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman says Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should not be made part of any post-operation arrangement in Gaza. A senior Israeli official said that Lieberman voiced his position during a Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting.
"Considering Abu-Mazen a partner in Gaza is a grave mistake," Lieberman said. The Palestinian president "might be taking action against Hamas in Gaza, but he is taking action against us in the international arena." (Barak Ravid) Read full article
11:28 A.M. Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar asks Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to rescind the citizenship of the Israeli Arab who carried out the terrorist attack on a bus in Tel Aviv in November 2012. (Revital Hovel)
11:00 A.M. Members of the U.S. Congress are losing patience with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a sharply worded letter, Democrats and Republicans who've led House efforts to advance U.S.-Turkish relations warned Erdogan last week about what they considered to be his anti-Semitic comments. They told him he risked damaging ties between the United States and Turkey. (AP) Read full article
10:11 A.M. Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki will visit the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands on Tuesday as he pushes for a war crimes case against Israel. Malki asked the United Nations last month to end what he called Israel's impunity and said it "must be held accountable for its crimes." (Reuters) Read full article
10:05 A.M. Some 300 trucks carrying medical supplies, goods and five ambulances are expected to cross into Gaza via Kerem Shalom. Some of the power lines destroyed in Gaza during the fighting are expected to be repaired as well.
10:05 A.M. Australia's government has made its strongest criticism yet of its staunch ally Israel over the month-long war in Gaza, with the Australian foreign minister calling the shelling of United Nations schools "indefensible."
Foreign Minister Julie Bishop welcomed the announcement of a 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire to begin on Tuesday, and urged Israel to take all necessary steps to prevent civilian casualties. (Reuters)
9:31 A.M. The Palestinian factions say that the rocket barrage fired toward Israel moments before the cease-fire took effect came in response to 10 Israeli air strikes that took place half an hour earlier. (Jack Khoury)
9:30 A.M. Masked protesters hurl rocks and firebombs at Israeli police officers on Temple Mount. (Jonathan Lis)
9:02 A.M.The United States welcomes the cease-fire in Gaza, and says the onus to maintain the lull is on Hamas.
"This is a real opportunity. We strongly support the initiative," Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken told CNN.
"The burden is on Hamas, I think, to demonstrate it will live up to the cease-fire," he added.
8:47 A.M.The Palestinian health ministry reports that a brother and sister, ages 12 and five, were killed in an IDF strike in Rafah overnight, raising the death toll in Operation Protective Edge to 1,867. The number is expected to rise in the coming days as rescue workers recover bodies from destroyed houses. (Jack Khoury)
8:34 A.M. Two rockets were intercepted over Kiryat Malachi and another was intercepted over the Tel Aviv region in the barrage fired just before 8 A.M. Two were intercepted over Ashdod. (Gili Cohen)
8:30 A.M. Air traffic at Ben Gurion Airport resumes after halted from 7 A.M. to 8:15 A.M., due to fears of rocket fire in minutes leading up to truce. (Zohar Blumenkrantz)
8:16 A.M.Some 20 rockets were fired toward Israel moments before the cease-fire took effect at 8 A.M. A rocket hit an open area in Gush Etzion, in the West Bank. Three others hit open areas near Kiryat Malakhi and in Sdot Negev Regional Council. (Shirly Seidler and Chaim Levinson)
8:04 A.M. A rocket explodes in a kibbutz in Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, causing damage to houses. No injuries reported. (Shirly Seidler)
7:59 A.M. Rocket barrage from Gaza on Israel continues; alerts sound across south and in central Israel, including Rehovot, Lod, and Rishon Letzion. Two rockets intercepted over Ashdod and Merhavim.
7:54 A.M. Rocket alerts sound in the West Bank.
7:50 A.M. Heavy rocket barrage fired toward Israel's south and towns near the Gaza border.
7:15 A.M. Rocket alerts sound in Ashkelon and Gaza vicinity towns. Earlier, a mortar shell barrage was fired toward communities near the Gaza border.
6:45 A.M. The IDF will withdraw its forces from the Gaza Strip when cease-fire comes into effect at 8 A.M. A high-ranking commander says that a small force will stay on alert near the Gaza border, in case Palestinian militants violate the truce. "If they open fire at us, we will respond," he says. According to the commander, most reservists who have been called up have yet to be released. (Gili Cohen)
1:52 A.M. U.S. President Barack Obama signed a bill Monday granting an additional $225 million in U.S. taxpayer dollars for Israel's Iron Dome missile defense system. The U.S. has provided hundreds of millions of dollars for Iron Dome in the past. The new package is intended to replenish Israel's capabilities.
The defense system has been highly effective in the current round of violence between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. It allows Israel's military to shoot down incoming rockets or mortars headed toward major population centers in Israel. Israeli officials say it has a success rate as high as 90 percent.
U.S. Congress approved the money last week before lawmakers left for their annual summer break. Obama signed the bill in the late afternoon in the Oval Office with a handful of photographers present. (AP)
1:02 A.M. The United Nations General Assembly will hold an informal meeting to hear briefings by senior UN officials on the war in Gaza. The office of Assembly President John Ashe announced Monday that the 193-member world body will meet in response to a request from Arab nations at 10 A.M. EDT on Wednesday.
UN members will be briefed by human rights chief Navi Pillay, the head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees Pierre Krahenbuhl, deputy humanitarian chief Kyung-wha Kang, and Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry.
The Arab group has not said whether it plans to circulate a resolution for adoption by the assembly. The more powerful Security Council has called for an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, but not in a legally binding resolution. (AP)
12:53 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets over the Ashkelon area. (Haaretz)
12:48 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Ashkelon area. (Haaretz)
11:51 P.M. Spain temporarily freezes arms exports to Israel over Gaza war. Spain is the second country to announce sanctions over arms sale to Israel in the past 24 hours, after Britain said it was reviewing all arms export licenses to Israel. Read full article here. Read full article here. (Barak Ravid)
11:20 P.M. Israeli cabinet ministers accepted the Egyptian proposal for a 72-hour cease-fire without preconditions, a senior Israeli official says. The unconditional cease-fire will last for 72 hours, with a possibility for extension. During the coming days, an Israeli delegation will set out for Cairo for talks on a more permanent cease-fire agreement.
The senior official stated, “if the cease-fire lasts, there will not be a need for a continued IDF presence within the Gaza Strip,” meaning that the IDF forces that have remained in Gaza will likely return to Israeli territory a few hours after the cease-fire goes into effect. (Barak Ravid)
10:58 P.M. The Egyptian Foreign Ministry said that "following reports of a temporary cease-fire, negotiations for the implementation of the Egyptian initiative will begin. We call on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side to come to Cairo for open discussions on a permanent cease-fire and we hope to see stability in the region soon." (Jack Khoury)
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