Kerry Pushes Weeklong Gaza Truce as Palestinian Death Toll Nears 800

At least 797 Palestinians – most of them civilians, many of them children — have died in the 17-day Gaza conflict so far. Thirty-three Israeli soldiers and two Israeli civilians have also been killed. Starting Sunday, there could be a break in the violence.

Secretary of State John Kerry may announce a weeklong truce in Gaza later today, which could start as early as Sunday. He's been meeting with various officials in Tel Aviv and Cairo, and he plans to leave the Middle East today. According to The New York Times, the truce would allow for negotiations between Israel and Hamas to officially end the conflict and improve life for civilians in Gaza.

Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal's demands remain the same — he wants an end to the blockade. In an interview with the BBC, he explained,

We want an airport, a port, we want to open up to the world. We don't want to be controlled by a border crossing that makes Gaza the biggest prison in the world.

People cannot go for medical treatment or to work. Why are the people of Gaza being punished by a slow death in the world's biggest prison? This is a crime.

He was vague when the BBC asked him if he would accept the "two-stage" plan of a truce, then negotiations.

Meanwhile, Palestinian groups have declared Friday to be a "day of rage," protesting Israel's invasion in Gaza.

[Image via AP]