Israel to Pause Gaza Attacks for 12 Hours Saturday

Israel agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire Saturday. 

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire to the violence in Gaza, a U.S. official traveling with Secretary of State John Kerry told Reuters.  The temporary hold will start at 7 a.m. Israeli time (12 a.m. EDT) on Saturday.

Hours earlier Israel's security cabinet unanimously rejected Secretary of State John Kerry's temporary seven-day ceasefire proposal. Kerry later hinted at a possible goodwill gesture by Netanyahu.

Israeli officials believed the original proposal, which allowed humanitarian aid into Gaza and placed a seven-day stay on the violence was too favorable to Hamas. 

"Kerry's proposal leans (too much) towards Hamas's demands," one source told ReutersSo far, nearly 850 Gazans and 35 Israeli troops have beenkilled, and upwards of 160,000 Palestinians have been displaced

On Friday, Kerry told reporters that "serious progress" had been made and he believed the framework of the ceasefire could work, but that terminology had to be clarified. A short time later, the Associated Press reported that Israel was prepared to increase their ground operation.

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon was quoted as telling troops "you need to be ready for the possibility that very soon we will instruct the military to significantly broaden the ground operation in Gaza."

A senior Israeli official then told the BBC that Netanyahu and Yaalon were considering a Saturday "12-hour humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza.

Kerry has traveled back and forth between Israel and Egypt this week. He met with U.N. Secretary Ban Ki Moon, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. 

Israel previously said it would reject any proposal that infringed on their mission of destroying tunnels that are used by Hamas to sneak into Israel from the Gaza strip. Hamas leaders are demanding that Israel open their border crossing into Gaza, which were closed both Israel and Egypt in 2007 after acts of aggression by Hamas. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.