Israel and Hamas have agreed to a 12-hour pause in Gaza hostilities which started at 7 a.m. Israeli time (0400 GMT) on Saturday. The US, as part of talks in Egypt, is pushing for a seven-day truce starting Monday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, commented on US Secretary of State John Kerry’s earlier statement which he made at a press conference in Cairo.
Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri confirmed that Hamas, along with all militant groups in Gaza, have agreed to the temporary ceasefire. He stressed that the move was put forward by the United Nations.
Earlier, US Secretary of State John Kerry told a press conference in Cairo that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears willing to resolve the escalating crisis between Gaza and Israel.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has indicated his willingness to do that as a good face down payment and to move forward,” Kerry said and then added that “serious progress” had been made on a truce but there was more work to do, Reuters reports.
According to a statement by US Secretary of State earlier on Friday, a deal was being sought for a seven-day humanitarian ceasefire between Israel and Hamas during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday beginning next week.
“We are working toward a brief seven days of peace. Seven days of a humanitarian ceasefire in honor of Eid in order to be able to bring people together to try to work to create a more durable, sustainable ceasefire for the long (term),” Kerry told a news conference in Cairo, which has served as host to contact between Hamas and Israel’s government.
The upcoming pause in the Gaza operation at least seems to indicate that progress has been made towards arriving at a longer humanitarian ceasefire.
Kerry indicated that a draft truce proposal had not yet been produced. “We still have some terminology … to work through, but we are confident that we have a fundamental framework that can and will ultimately work,” Kerry said.
Friday’s announcement was made during a news conference by Kerry, with Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon standing alongside him…. see more