US presses Israel to accept ceasefire

The United States, Israel’s main backer, has joined Europe in urging the Jewish state to accept an...

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The <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on">United States</country-region>, <country-region w:st="on">Israel</country-region>’s main backer, has joined Europe in urging the Jewish state to accept an Egyptian-proposed ceasefire and to curtail its 12-day offensive in <city w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Gaza.

Fighting resumed on Wednesday after a three-hour truce, when both sides allowed convoys of essential food and medicine into the region.

Israeli officials said they had accepted the principles of the proposal, notably denying Hamas the ability to rearm through smuggling tunnels from Egypt but the actual details needed to be worked out.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said they were prepared to consider the proposal as well.

"We have the French-Egyptian initiative. We have other initiatives. We have to discuss all the initiatives under some important condition. We have to receive a positive acceptance from the Israeli’s because all the time the Palestinians give positive reaction while the Israeli’s give a negative reaction. This time we have to wait and if they said they will accept, I think we will start talking about our position."