Egypt, UN, US put forward ceasefire plan for Gaza
Ahram Online, Friday 25 Jul 2014
Egypt, UN, US and the Arab League are proposing a week-long ceasefire to halt violence in the Gaza Strip

Egypt, the US, the UN and the Arab League called on Friday for a week-long ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian groups in Gaza.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry announced the proposal on Friday at a joint press conference with US secretary of state, the UN secretary-general and the Arab League secretary-general.

"We call for the humanitarian ceasefire ... at the end of the holy month of Ramadan and Eid el-Fitr for a period of seven days," Shoukry said.

Shoukry also stated that the Rafah border crossing has been opened permanently to receive travellers who were entering Egypt for humanitarian reasons. "We received people from Gaza," said the Egyptian foreign minister, who stated that the crossing had never been tied to any kind of siege on Gaza.

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-Moon said that the ceasefire would start with an initial 12-hour period and then be extended, and said that there was progress being made towards putting it into place.

Kerry also stated that Israel had demanded amendments regarding the ceasefire proposal.

Israeli Prime minister has agreed on the 12 hours cease fire hoping it would be extended to another 24 hours.

Ezzat Al-Rishaq, a leading Hamas official, said on his official Facebook page that the Islamist movement was studying the proposal.

Earlier this month Egypt had proposed an immediate ceasefire, followed by talks for a longer-term truce to bring an end to the violence.

Hamas rejected the Egyptian initiative and demanded its own set of terms be met, including the lifting of the siege on the Gaza Strip by opening the Egypt- controlled Rafah border, and the release of a number of Palestinian prisoners.

Over 800 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the Israeli operation in Gaza on 8 July, while around 30 Israelis have been killed, the majority soldiers.