Israeli Amb to Hemmer: 'We Already Accepted a Cease-Fire Proposal'
Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer weighed in this morning on the prospect of a cease-fire agreement to end the violence between Israel and Hamas. Dermer emphasized to Bill Hemmer that Israel has already agreed to an Egyptian proposal that Secretary of State John Kerry is pushing.
Kerry is said to still be working on getting Hamas to accept the week-long cease-fire, hoping it could start as soon as Sunday. Dermer noted that instead of accepting the cease-fire terms, Hamas has continued to fire "about 100 rockets every single day," forcing two-thirds of the Israeli population to take cover in bomb shelters.
"Every time there's been a cease-fire, Israel steps forward and Israel is prepared to accept it," said Dermer.
He added that he's not sure if any new terms are being proposed right now, but "if past is prologue, you can be quite certain that Israel will do what it can to de-escalate the situation. The problem is that Hamas keeps escalating it."
Dermer said Kerry is helping the process and Israel appreciates the statements from the U.S. that it has right to defend itself.
Here's the latest on the talks and the violence from FoxNews.com:
Secretary of State John Kerry's proposals for a cease-fire that would halt the fighting in the Gaza Strip have been resisted by the Islamic militant group Hamas, who insist that any truce agreement must meet the group's main demand that a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the territory be lifted.
"When it comes to the balance of power in this crisis between us and Israel, they are the executioners, the aggressors, the occupiers, the settlers, and we are the true owners of the land," Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said Wednesday in a televised speech from his home-in-exile in Doha, Qatar. "We will not accept anything but the end of the siege."
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that diplomats from the U.S., Israel, and other Middle Eastern countries are reworking a cease-fire proposal made by Egypt's foreign ministry last week. The paper reports that the new proposal would call for both Israel and Hamas to cease military operations in the coming days before calling on the U.S. and the international community to begin talks on a long-term economic program for Gaza.
Hamas rejected the initial Egyptian cease-fire proposal on the grounds that it had not been consulted by Cairo, and claimed that the plan did not provide for the lifting of the blockade or the release of militant prisoners from Israeli custody.
The Journal reports that Hamas' demands to open up the movement of goods into Gaza are likely to be met with resistance by Israel unless it is allowed to monitor the trade for weapons bound for Hamas.
John Huddy reported the latest from the Israel-Gaza border this morning. Watch his report below: