Israeli cabinet to meet on Egyptian truce proposal
JERUSALEM, July 14 (Xinhua) -- The security cabinet was slated to convene on Tuesday morning to discuss an Egyptian proposal aiming to end the raging conflict between Israeli troops and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip, Israeli media reported.
Unnamed Israeli officials, quoted by Israeli media, said the Israeli government was taking the Egyptian proposal seriously.
The Egyptian government on Monday night proposed a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip, according to which the two sides would end "hostilities" as of 9: 00 a.m. local time on Tuesday.
The proposal, which was published on the eve of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Cairo, states that Israel would end all "hostilities in the Gaza Strip from the land, air and sea and would refrain from launching a ground offensive that targets civilians."
According to the proposal, the Palestinian factions would cease all "hostilities" emanating from the Gaza Strip against Israel.
The Egyptian initiative calls for the reopening of the border crossings into the Gaza Strip to passengers and goods as the security situation becomes stable.
Under the proposal, representatives of the Israeli government and the Palestinian factions will travel to Cairo within 48 hours after the ceasefire goes into effect to discuss "confidence- building measures" between the two sides. The Egyptians, according to the plan, would hold separate talks with the Israelis and Palestinians in Cairo.
Media reports quoted Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum as saying Monday night that his movement would not accept any truce that excludes the conditions of the Palestinian groups and people.
Among the conditions listed by Hamas are releasing Palestinians arrested by Israel in recent weeks, lifting Israel's blockade on Gaza and ending the current military offensive on the Gaza Strip.
The bloody conflict between Israeli troops and Palestinian groups in Gaza raged on Monday for the seventh consecutive day, leaving nearly 190 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians.
Since Israel launched the "Operation Protective Edge" on July 8, the Israeli military has dropped hundreds of tons of bombs in the Hamas-controlled Gaza from the air, land and sea, while Hamas and other Palestinian groups fired almost 1,000 rockets at Israel, some of them reaching deep into northern and central Israel.