LIVE UPDATES: Operation Protective Edge, day 8
Netanyahu: Hamas leaves no choice but to expand op; Israeli civilian killed; security cabinet meets to discuss escalation.; Lieberman: IDF must end operation with control of entire Gaza Strip; Netanyahu fires right-wing Deputy Defense Min.
Israel's security cabinet convened at 9 P.M. on Tuesday, 12 hours after accepting an Egyptian cease-fire proposal. Several Hamas officials rejected the proposal, but sources said that Hamas was holding talks with Egypt on the matter and an official statement by the Hamas political leadership is expected later Tuesday.
Hamas fire intensified over the course of the day, with rockets launched toward south, central and north Israel. A civilian was killed after being hit with shrapnel near the Erez Crossing, on the Gaza border.
SUBSCRIBE TO HAARETZ AND GET FULL COVERAGE
Since the operation began, Israel has launched more than 1,300 air strikes in Gaza which killed 202 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,100 people. Gaza hospitals are reporting a dire shortage of medicine and equipment, particularly for trauma injuries.
More than 900 rockets and mortars have landed within Israel. Only a fraction landed in urban regions. The Iron Dome, which is only meant to intercept rockets that are headed for such areas, has an 87 percent success rate and has shot down 180 rockets over the course of the operation.
11:57 P.M. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is to travel to Cairo on Wednesday to meet with his Egyptian counterpart, Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi. Abbas' office said that the meeting is to focus on the implementation of the Egyptian cease-fire proposal. The Palestinian leader is to travel to Turkey on July 18 to meet with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, also to discuss a truce between Israel and Gaza. (Jack Khoury)
11:49 P.M. Palestinian political officials slam Egypt's efforts to negotiate a cease-fire with Israel, claiming that the mediators' proposal ignored Hamas entirely.
"The Egyptians coordinated the initiative with Abbas and ignored Gaza," a senior PLO tells Haaretz. "Hamas leaders felt humiliated by the fact that the proposal was released without them being consulted about its contents ahead of time."
Spokespeople for Hamas and the Islamic Jihad blasted the Egyptian initiative as capitulation. Nevertheless, the groups signaled that they are studying the proposal. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk tweeted that an official decision has yet to be made. (Jack Khoury)
11:30 P.M. The IDF is using recorded telephone messages to warn more than 100,000 residents of two Gaza City neighborhoods, Zeitoun in the south and Shuja'iyya in the east, to evacuate their homes. (Amos Harel and Gili Cohen)
11:20 P.M. The Iron Dome intercepts three rockets over Kiryat Gat. (Gili Cohen)
11:15 P.M. The Israeli who was killed in a mortar shell explosion near the Erez Crossing was traveling south to give out candy to soldiers stationed near the Gaza border. The man, 37, was pronounced dead by paramedics on the scene. He is survived by his wife and three children. His name is being held because his brother, who is abroad, has yet to be informed of his death. (Chaim Levinson)
10:55 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Ashkelon, Ashdod regions. (Haaretz)
10:27 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Gaza-bordering regions. (Haaretz)
10:16 P.M. Stone-throwers target light train in Jerusalem; none injured, train lightly damaged (Nir Hasson)
9:45 P.M. Improvement in condition of 11-year-old girl wounded by shrapnel in Lakiya (Shirley Seidler)
9:43 P.M. Security cabinet meets to discuss Israel's response to the collapse of Egypt's cease-fire initiative. (Barak Ravid)
9:17 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Jerusalem Hills, Judean Hills, Jordan Valley, Jericho region, and Ashkelon region (Haaretz)
8:57 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Gaza bordering regions (Haaretz)
8:40 P.M. Netanyahu fires Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Haaretz)
8 P.M. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday evening that despite Israel's decision to accept the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, Hamas rejected it and continued fire. Hamas will pay the price for its actions.Anyone who tries to harm Israel, will be harmed, he said, adding that Israel would have preferred to solve this diplomatically, but Hamas has left no choice.
"This morning I convened the cabinet ministers and we decided that Israel would accept the cease-fire. I said that if Islamic Jihad and Hamas continue to fire on Israeli cities, I would instruct the IDF to act forcefully against them, and that is how we operated this afternoon. The air force bombed several targets across the Gaza Strip, and these strikes will continue. Hamas will pay the price for its decision to continue this campaign."
"Israel will harm anyone who tries to strike the citizen of Israel," he said. "When there is no cease-fire, out response is fire. The political front, the home front and the operational front are working together simultaneously… It would have been preferable to solve this diplomatically, and that is what we tried to do, but Hamas has left us no chance but to expand the operation against it. This is how we will operate until we reach our goal, the restoration of quiet through a significant blow to terror."
7:55 P.M. Two rockets land in open areas near Dimona, and another hits in Kiryat Malakhi (Gili Cohen)
7:48 P.M. Rocket explodes inside community near Gaza border, causing damage and fire (Shirly Seidler)
7:40 P.M. Israeli civilian succumbs to critical wounds from shrapnel. Barzilai Medical Center pronounces the 37-year-old man's death on arrival. (Haaretz)
7:32 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Gaza-border regions. (Haaretz)
7:11 P.M. Civilian critically wounded by mortar shell shrapnel at Erez Crossing. (Haaretz)
7:03 P.M. Rocket lands on roof of residential building in Ashkelon, fails to break through. Rocket alerts sound in Dimona, Yeruham, and Mitzpeh Ramon (Yaniv Kubovich and Gili Cohen)
7:01 P.M. Two rockets intercepted over Tel Aviv metropolitan area. (Gili Cohen)
6:59 P.M. Sirens sound in northern Negev, Be'er Sheva and Ashkelon (Haaretz)
6:54 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Tel Aviv metropolitan area, Ashkelon, Ashdod, and the coastal plain regions (Haaretz)
6:33 P.M. Islamic Jihad informs Egyptians it refuses their cease-fire proposal. (Amira Hass)
6:27 P.M. Two rockets explode in Be'er Sheva area, another is intercepted over Netivot. (Shirly Seidler and Gili Cohen)
6:21 P.M. Israel's security cabinet to meet at 9 P.M. tonight in Tel Aviv. (Barak Ravid)
6:20 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Be'er Sheva, Northern Negev (Haaretz)
6:09 P.M. Rocket alerts sound across Gaza-bordering regions (Haaretz)
5:55 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in Netivot and in Eshkol and Sdot Negev regional councils (Haaretz)
5:50 P.M. Iron Dome intercepts five rockets over Ashkelon; IDF strikes rocket launching site in northern Gaza, identifies hit (Gili Cohen)
5:40 P.M. According to the IDF, since the resumption of strikes on the Gaza Strip, the Israel Air Force has attacked some 30 targets across the Strip. Among the targets were twenty underground launchers, tunnels, an ammunition depot, and the house of an Islamic Jihad official. The IDF says the strikes were carried out in response to the barrages of rockets fired at Israeli territory. (Gili Cohen)
5:07 P.M. Meretz head Zahava Galon calls on Netanyahu to fire Foreign Minister Lieberman due to the statements he made earlier in the afternoon (see below) regarding a take-over of the Gaza Strip. Galon said Lieberman's statement, which "counters the security cabinet's decision is a violation of the legislative principle of shared governmental responsibility."
"Lieberman, the serial pyromaniac, is trying to reignite the fire of war and crush any chance of exhausting the possibility of a cease-fire," said Galon, who added that even worse than that, is the fact that the foreign minister, of all people, is sabotaging the diplomatic efforts aimed at reaching a calm, and making Israel look like a warmonger. (Jonathan Lis)
5:00 P.M. 14 rockets fired at Eshkol Regional Council in last 40 minutes (Haaretz)
4:20 P.M. Rocket alerts sounds across Ashkelon region. (Haaretz)
4:15 P.M. Operation Protective Edge must end with the IDF "controlling all of the Gaza Strip," says Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, urging a stop to the "never-ending hesitation and asking of questions."
"Israel must go all the way," he added, speaking at a press conference. "A cease-fire is a tacit agreement that Hamas continue to build up its power."
"All the diplomatic formulations are, in this case, hurtful… A full takeover of the Gaza Strip is Israel's only course forward," said Lieberman, calling any cease-fire "nothing but a preparation for the next round" of fighting. "It is clear that Hamas will use any cease-fire to make more rockets and smuggle in more explosives."
The global pressures pushing for an Israeli return to its '67 borders are misguided, says Lieberman, and display the world's callous lack of concern for Israelis' security. The Foreign Minister cites Hamas' Gaza Strip rocket-fire as evidence that Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005 was a mistake. "We have to tell the world - you pressured us into [the disengagement], this is what your believes led to, and just because of that, you need to give us the backing now to go all the way." (Haaretz)
3:55 P.M. Siren sounds in Ashkelon area.
3:49 P.M. Rocket alerts sound in areas bordering southern Gaza Strip. (Haaretz)
3:25 P.M. The GOC Southern Command believes that despite the fact that previous operations also saw continued rocket fire after the cease-fire agreement kicked in, this time the fire is not tapering off and indicates that Hamas wishes to present an additional military achievement.
Maj. Gen. Sami Turgeman says that "in light of the continuing Hamas fire, we are now acting against it with force. Hamas initiated this campaign, and brought upon itself considerable damage. We chose not to put our full capabilities into action, and we have additional plans, and if we will need to, we will act expediently to conclude this operation." (Gili Cohen)
3:21 P.M. Reports in Gaza indicate most of the Israeli strikes were launched in open areas in the Khan Yunis and the Bureij refugee camps. The IDF says that between 9 A.M. and 3 P.M. local time, more than 50 rockets and mortar shells were fired toward Israel. (Jack Khoury and Gili Cohen)
3:19 P.M. Israel Air Force is attacking "terror sites" throughout the Gaza Strip.(Gili Cohen)
3:14 P.M. Three mortar shells explode in open fields in the Eshkol Regional Council. (Shirly Seidler)
3:00 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in Sdot Negev and Sha'ar HaNegev regional councils (Haaretz)
2:58 P.M. A senior Israeli official said Netanyahu ordered the IDF to strike targets in Gaza. "After Hamas and Islamic Jihad refused Egypt's proposal for a cease-fire and fired dozens of rockets at Israel, Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon ordered the army to carry out forceful strikes against terror targets in Gaza," he said. (Barak Ravid)
2:48 P.M. Khaled al-Batash, a senior leader of Islamic Jihad in Gaza: We received the Egyptian proposal yesterday in the evening and are studying it. Our response will come together with the Hamas. (Jack Khoury)
2:20 P.M. Kerry called on Hamas to stop the rocket fire at Israel and to accept the cease-fire. "I condemn Hamas for shooting rockets at the time Israel and Egypt are working in good faith to get a cease-fire," he said during a press conference in Vienna.
Kerry said that he is prepared to fly back to the region if the cease-fire doesn't work, but stressed that Egypt needs time and space to make it work. "I call on all parties to observe the cease-fire," he said. (Barak Ravid)
1:51 P.M. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni: "Israel is giving Hamas an opportunity to also accept the Egyptian proposal, to stop firing and to stop a painful Israeli response that it will suffer if it continues to fire rockets. If Hamas doesn't take up the proposal, Israel will continue to use force against it – and a lot of it." (Barak Ravid)
1:49 P.M. Former U.K. prime minister and Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair told ITV News that there will be "no trust on either side between Hamas and Israel. That is not going to happen in the immediate term and possibly ever," the station website reported. He also said the question is whether the international community "can create a circumstance to allow lasting peace," especially with Egyptian involvement.
1:44 P.M. Hamas' military wing takes responsibility for rockets fired at Ashkelon, Rehovot and Eshkol Regional Council earlier today. (Jack Khoury)
1:40 P.M. In response to a request by Ashdod mayor, the IDF began deploying portable bomb shelters around the city. (Shirly Seidler)
1:31 P.M. Sirens sound in Rishon Letzion and Rehovot in central Israel.
1:09 P.M. Kerry: The Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire and negotiations provides an opportunity to end the violence and restore calm. We welcome the Israeli cabinet's decision to accept it. We urge all other parties to accept the proposal. (Barak Ravid)
1:08 P.M. Israeli soldier sustains a light injury from shrapnel off a rocket explosion in Sderot. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets fired toward Rehovot and Ashkelon. Two additional rockets exploded in the Ashkelon area. As a result of these explosions a fire broke out. Two firefighting teams are working to put it out. (Gili Cohen and Shirly Seidler)
12:55 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Sdot Negev Regional Council. (Haaretz)
12:47 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Eshkol Regional Council. (Haaretz)
12:44 P.M. Hamas says it fired a Syrian-made rocket at Haifa, though no rockets reached the area. (Gili Cohen)
12:42 P.M. Three rockets explode in a town in the Eshkol Regional Council, two others in open areas nearby. Currently, no casualties or damage were reported. In addition, a rocket exploded between two towns in the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. There was no damage.(Shirly Seidler)
12:33 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Jezreel Valley area. (Haaretz)
12:27 P.M. German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says he welcomes Israel's acceptance of the cease-fire and called on the Gaza leadership to do the same. "Gaza mustn't be a Hamas rocket store. It is a danger to Israel and it's a danger to the residents of Gaza," Steinmeier said. "Israel has the moral and legal right to respond to attacks against it." (Barak Ravid)
12:20 P.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council, the Eshkol Regional Council, Rehovot, Ashdod, and Ashkelon. (Haaretz)
12:03 P.M. Several hours after Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire, Netanyahu said, "If Hamas will not accept the cease-fire, we will intensify the attacks against it."
Speaking in a press conference with the German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Netanyahu said, "We accepted the Egyptian cease-fire proposal to give an opportunity to demilitarize the [Gaza] Strip from rockets. If Hamas continues to fire at Israel, Israel will have the international legitimacy to take action." (Barak Ravid)
11:59 A.M. Hamas was still debating an Egyptian-proposed Gaza truce on Tuesday, a top official said. "We are still in consultation and there has been no official position made by the [Hamas] movement regarding the Egyptian proposal," Moussa Abu Marzouk, who was in Cairo, said in a Facebook posting. (Reuters)
11:56 A.M. Two rockets explode near Ashdod, one in open area and another in the backyard of a house. No casualties reported. (Shirly Seidler)
11:52 A.M. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has decided not to make an immediate trip to the Middle East to push diplomatic efforts toward a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. (AP)
11:40 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts four rockets over Ashdod.
11:20 A.M. Barrage of rockets fired at southern Israel, sirens sound in Ashkelon and Ashdod area.
11:01 A.M. Palestinian sources told Haaretz that despite recent declarations by Hamas officials in opposition to the Egyptian offer, it is possible that in the next few hours Hamas' political leadership will hold direct talks with Egyptian intelligence in an effort to accept the cease-fire proposal.
Hamas' political chief Khaled Meshal or his deputy Ismail Haniyeh is expected to release an official statement later Tuesday. The statement depends on how the talks between Hamas' leadership and Egypt progress in the coming hours.
Earlier Tuesday, sources in Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced that Israel's acceptance of the cease-fire agreement is an empty gesture, since Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip are continuing. Senior members of the two organizations downplayed the significance of the Egyptian initiative, and the possibility that a cease-fire would meet their demands. These demands include lifting the siege on Gaza, ending the military activity in the West Bank, the release of all those rearrested after being released in the Shalit prisoner exchange, and the improvement of the conditions of the Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.(Jack Khoury)
10:40 A.M. Three rockets explode in open area in Eshkol Regional Council. (Shirly Seidler)
10:36 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Eshkol Regional Council (Haaretz)
10:35 A.M. Meretz Chairwoman Zahava Gal-On: "Alongside the cease-fire, the Israeli government must create financial and diplomatic incentives for the moderates so that future fire from Gaza can be prevented and radicals can be replaced. This should include the ending of the siege on Gaza, making the traffic of persons and goods in in out of Gaza easier and open the Rafah Crossing." (Barak Ravid)
9:58 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Eshkol Regional Council (Haaretz)
9:51 A.M. Housing and Construction Minister Uri Ariel: The cabinet decision is a strategic mistake akin to building a train track without paving the last kilometer. (Jonathan Lis)
9:40 A.M. A senior Israeli official said following the security cabinet's decision to accept the cease-fire offer that if Hamas continues to fire rockets after the cease-fire, "Israel will respond forcefully." The official said that Israel's acceptance of the Egyptian offer gives Israel international legitimization in case Hamas does not stop the rocket fire.
"The bottom line is that Hamas did not accomplish what it wanted," the senior official said. "They suffered a serious blow, they did not manage to harm the Israeli home front, and did not succeed in carrying out strategic attacks since they were all intercepted. Also, Hamas did not manage to secure the support of the Arab world or to bring the West Bank into this round of violence." (Barak Ravid)
9:40 A.M. Opposition leader MK Isaac Herzog (Labor): "If the cease-fire doesn't lead to forward movement in the peace process, it is useless." (Jonathan Lis)
9:18 A.M. Senior Israeli defense official Amos Gilad told Army Radio Tuesday morning that the cease-fire agreement underway would mean that Hamas will cease its military activities both under and above ground. Gilad's statement and other statements made by other persons from the Israeli security establishment constitute an attempt to market the cease-fire agreement as an Israeli achievement and present Operation Protective Edge as a success. That being said, the announcement by Hamas' military wing that it rejects the agreement still raises doubts regarding the Egyptian proposal's chances of success. (Amos Harel)
9:00 A.M. Israel's security cabinet decides to accept Egyptian cease-fire proposal, which will go into effect at 9 A.M. and will give both sides 12 hours to halt attacks. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett were the only ones in the security cabinet who voted against the offer. (Barak Ravid)
8:53 A.M. Iron Dome intercepts two rockets over the Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. (Gili Cohen)
8:52 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in the Eshkol Regional Council. (Haaretz)
8:51 A.M. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed the Egyptian cease-fire proposal overnight, and called on all Palestinian factions to accept it "in order to stop the bloodshed and protect the national interests of the Palestinian people." Abbas said that he hoped that the initiative would "pave the way to a diplomatic effort that would lead to an end to the occupation and the establishment of a Palestinian state." (Jack Khoury)
8:34 A.M. Rocket sirens sound in Hof Ashkelon Regional Council. (Haaretz)
8:26 A.M. Israel completes deployment of its ninth Iron Dome battery, "which will allow for a defense of additional large territory around the country from the rocket menace," a Defense Ministry statement read. (Gili Cohen)
8:07 A.M. The Hamas military wing Izz al-Din al-Qassam published a statement Tuesday morning according to which the organization "opposes the Egyptian proposal, which constitutes a surrender and isn't worth a thing." The organization went on to state that it was continuing with the path of resistance. "The blood of the martyrs will not go to waste and no side can undo the gains of resistance," the statement read. "Our battle with the enemy will escalate and we will be true to the blood of the martyrs." (Jack Khoury)
7:51 A.M. According to the IDF, it has reduced the number of attacks it was conducting overnight Monday, saying 25 attacks took place, including the bombing of the home of Marwan Issa, the leader of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades. "You call it a home, we call it a command center and a military post for all intents and purposes," said a senior Israeli officer.
The number of rockets fired from Gaza toward Israel has also decreased. Two rocket impact sites were identified in the Eshkol Regional Council, and another three in the Eilat area. Currently, who fired the rockets at Eilat and whether they were fired from Sinai or the Gaza Strip is unknown.
As regards to the possibility that a cease-fire will take effect over the next few hours, the senior officer said, "The security establishment is waiting for the decision of the government, but is preparing for more fighting. There isn't a feeling of preparing for the end. The system is alert also as regards to defense [of the border], as well as to threats from within." (Gili Cohen)
7:25 A.M. Israel's security cabinet meets to discuss Egyptian cease-fire proposal (Barak Ravid)
5:04 A.M. U.S. President Barack Obama welcomes Egypt's cease-fire initiative, which he hopes "can restore a calm that we've been seeking. More broadly, the situation in Gaza reminds us that the status quo is unsustainable."
Obama supported Israel's right to defend itself from "inexcusable attacks from Hamas," adding that "no country can accept rockets fired indiscriminately at citizens."
Obama added that "the death and injury of Palestinian civilians is a tragedy, which is why we've emphasized the need to protect civilians, regardless of who they are and where they live."
3:46 A.M. The United States says it welcomes Egypt's call for a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians, and hopes it will "lead to the restoration of calm as soon as possible."
Secretary of State John Kerry was "deeply engaged" in conversations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian government officials, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.
The U.S. was committed to working for a resolution "to this dangerous and volatile situation," she said. (DPA)
3:26 A.M. The IDF says three rockets fell in Eilat, two in an urban area and one in an open area. The rockets were apparently fired from the Sinai Peninsula.
Security officials recently raised the possibility of rocket fire originating from Sinai entering Israel.
Izz al-Din al-Qassam, Hamas' military wing, tweeted, "This is the first time Israel has been attacked from all fronts – Gaza, Lebanon, the Golan Heights and Sinai." (Gili Cohen)
3:02 A.M. A spokesperson from Yoseftal Medical Center in Eilat says the hospital received 23 casualties following the rocket explosion in Eilat. Ten of those suffered light injuries, and 13 were being treated for anxiety. (Revital Levy-Stein)
2:51 A.M. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri says his organization would reject Egypt's cease-fire proposal.
"We reject any cease-fire before reaching a truce agreeement. It never happened in any war to cease fire on the ground before reaching an agreement," Abu Zuhri said in a press release.
Abu Zuhri repeated Hamas' deputy Ismail Haniyeh's claims that Hamas is yet to receive a formal initiative of any kind.
He added, "Hamas refuses to be disarmed because we are still under occupation, and resistance is the right of our people to defend themselves." (Haaretz)
2:16 A.M. Rocket makes direct hit on a parked car in Eilat after sirens sound throughout Eilat and surrounding areas. (Revital Levy-Stein and Shirly Seidler)
11:54 P.M. Sources in Habayit Hayehudi party say Economy Minister Naftali Bennett will vote against a cease-fire in the cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning. (Barak Ravid)
11:39 P.M. 10-year-old Maram Wakili remains in critical condition after being wounded by a rocket in Lakiya in the Negev.
Her sister Atir is now in light condition. An 83-year-old man seriously injured in Be'er Sheva when falling on his way to a secure area is now in light condition, as well. (Shirly Seidler)
11:32 P.M. Hamas deputy political chief Ismail Haniyeh said yesterday that contacts for a potential cease-fire exist, yet Hamas is yet to receive a formal proposal.
In the speech aired Monday on Al Jazeera, Haniyeh clarified Hamas did not seek escalation, blaming Israel for violating the previously established cease-fire following 2012's Operation Cast Lead. (Zvi Bar'el)