Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha
Jerusalem: No sooner did Israel accepted a ceasefire than a bunch of rockets were fired from Gaza Strip, making clear the intention of Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has rejected the truce proposed by Egypt.
In a tweet posted on its twitter account, the Israeli Defence Forces say, "Since we suspended strikes in Gaza, terrorists there fired 22 rockets at Israel. One of them struck a house in Ashdod & caused damage".
PM Benjamin Netanyahu is said to have accepted the ceasefire after Israeli security cabinet met today to discuss the Egyptian proposal for Gaza truce.
According to the Haaretz, the ceasefire proposal will now be put to vote, said a senior Israeli official.
Israeli Army confirmed that the government “has directed our forces to suspend strikes in Gaza. We remain prepared to respond to Hamas attacks and defend Israel”.
If Hamas fires at Israel, we will respond with force.
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 15, 2014
However, an affirmative answer has not come yet from the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which seems to have rejected the ceasefire, with one of its officials, calling it a `joke` according to the CNN.
The Hamas officials earlier said that the efforts for the ceasefire were underway, but added that a political agreement must be struck before a ceasefire comes into effect, reported the AFP.
"A ceasefire without reaching an agreement is rejected. In times of war, you don`t cease fire and then negotiate," the AFP quoted Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhum as saying.
Also, in a statement, an armed wing of Hamas - the al-Qassam Brigades – categorically rejected the ceasefire terming it a “surrender” by Israel and threatened that the battle will only intensify.
No official or unofficial side has approached us about the ceasefire talked about in the media... (but) if the contents of this proposal are true, it is a surrender and we reject it outright," said the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades reportedly.
Seeking to repeat its act of brokering a truce in November 2012, Egypt proposed an Israel-Gaza ceasefire to take hold with effect from Tuesday in order to placate the crisis that has been raging with salvos of rockets being fired from both sides, killing 175 Palestinians.
It can be noted that Egypt brokered an Israel-Gaza truce in November 2012 after a similar week-long conflict had killed 150.
The truce proposed by Egypt has been hailed by the US and also, the Arab League which urged all the parties to agree to it.
In order to discuss the ceasefire, high-level delegations from both the sides are set to meet in Cairo today.
It has been exactly a week since Israel launched Operation Protective Edge last Tuesday to stop rocket firing from Hamas. Israel says that Hamas has fired nearly 1000 rockets in last seven days.
Daily recap: Day 7 of Operation Protective Edge. Over 1,000 rockets fired at Israel in the past week pic.twitter.com/p7LVEEiUK5
— IDF (@IDFSpokesperson) July 15, 2014
In response, Israel has continued to target Hamas targets in Gaza.
As the strikes continue unabated, the death toll in Gaza has shot up to 175, say Palestinian officials and according to the UN, over 17000 have sought refuge in its various facilities.
Israeli Army says that it was dropping warning leaflets over Gaza, instructing civilians to evacuate the areas where missiles would be fired.
Israeli Army further says that it is a part of strategy of Hamas to use civilians in Gaza as human shields , adding that it amounted to war crime, the IDF posted on Twitter.
“Hamas’ strategy is simple: Use civilians as human shields. Fire rockets from residential areas. Store weapons in mosques. Hide in hospitals,” the IDF says.
The evacuation of houses by thousands of dwellers is an unwelcome move for the authorities in Gaza, who do not want the residents to comply with Israeli demands.
According to the Haaretz, the Gazan Interior Ministry in a statement told civilians not to evacuate their houses at Israel`s command.
“We are in touch with international groups and with human rights groups operating in Gaza and up to this point there is nothing that requires the evacuation of the northern Gaza Strip,” the report quoted an announcement made by the Ministry.
The Gazan Interior Ministry describes the calls for evacuation as part of a “war of nerves” waged by Israel against the Palestinians due to the failure of its occupation.