The Egyptian Foreign Ministry has proposed a ceasefire to the deadly attacks raged between Israel and Hamas, calling for a halt to further offensives until a truce can be negotiated. The Israeli government and leaders of Hamas have reportedly said they will consider the offer.
Israeli officials said the country's security cabinet would meet early on Tuesday to study the Egyptian proposal, which calls for a swift halt to attacks by both sides, followed by a 48-hour cooling-off period and then talks aimed at a more lasting truce. The Egyptian government, which is not friendly to Hamas, presented the plan to Arab League foreign ministers at a meeting Monday evening.
The proposed ceasefire follows an apparent drone attack launched by militants in Palestine that was intercepted by Israel. From Reuters:
Earlier, the Israeli military said it had shot down a drone from Gaza, which is sandwiched between Israeli and Egyptian territory. This marked the first reported deployment of an unmanned aircraft by Palestinian militants and a possible step up in the sophistication of their arsenal, although it was not clear whether it was armed.
The death toll in Palestine continues to climb—last week, nearly 100 Palestinians, largely women and children, were killed in attacks. Pierre Krähenbühl, the commissioner general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in Gaza, told the New York Times today that the number of killed in Palestine has risen to 180, and that at least 1,100 have been wounded.
Reuters reports that previous calls for peace, including by the UN Security Council, have seemingly been dismissed by the warring groups, but that Egypt's plan appears possible:
So far the international calls for a ceasefire have had little effect and there were no immediate signs that the initiative by Egypt - which struck a peace treaty with Israel more than 30 years ago - would necessarily succeed.
However, the Israeli official seemed to put a positive face on the proposed truce, saying that Israel's week-old offensive in Gaza had weakened the Islamist Hamas group militarily.
The service also reports that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Cairo Tuesday for potential talks, but the U.S. has yet to confirm his trip. Haaretz is reporting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is planning to convene a meeting of his security council to vote on Egypt's proposal.
[Image via AP]