Israel agrees to second cease-fire after Hamas rejects first

The Israeli military agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire to allow civilians in Gaza to resupply their households with basic necessities.

The cease-fire was scheduled to take place for five hours early on July 17, the Israel Defense Forces announced July 16. During the cease-fire, the IDF said in a statement that it would “cease operational activity within the Gaza Strip and hold its fire.”

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and representatives of the United Nations brokered the humanitarian truce.

“Should the humanitarian window be exploited by Hamas or other terror organizations for the purpose of launching attacks against Israeli civilian or military targets, the IDF will respond firmly and decisively,” the IDF said.

It was the second time that Israel agreed to a cessation of hostilities in Gaza. Earlier in the week Israel accepted an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire proposal, but resumed operations in Gaza six hours later following continued rocket attacks from Hamas, which had declared it would not accept the cease-fire.

Secretary of State John Kerry slammed Hamas for continuing its rocket fire, reiterating that the United States considers it a terrorist organization.

“I cannot condemn strongly enough the actions of Hamas in so brazenly firing rockets in multiple numbers in the face of a goodwill effort to offer a cease-fire, in which Egypt and Israel worked together, that the international community strongly supports,” Kerry said in Vienna on July 15.

On July 16, Israel’s Cabinet approved the call-up of 8,000 more reservists, in addition to the 48,000 that already have been called up for Operation Protective Edge. — jta