“We must use terror, assassination, intimidation, land confiscation, and the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population.” - David Ben-Gurion, a.k.a. David Grün (1886-1973), Israeli Prime Minister,"Father of the Nation"
Gaza crisis: UN and US announce ceasefire - as it happened
All agree to ‘unconditional humanitarian ceasefire’
Truce to last ‘72 hours unless extended’
Hamas spokesman says group will observe ceasefire
Delegations to resume meetings in Cairo
Read the ceasefire statement
Read the latest blog summary
Haroon Siddique in London and Tom McCarthy in New York
theguardian.com, Thursday 31 July 2014 23.54 BST
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UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon says nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children
In a joint statement issued late Thursday, the UN and US announced that “all parties” had agreed to a 72-hour ceasefire in Gaza and Israel to begin Friday morning at 8am local time (1am ET).
Diplomats were to convene “right away” in Cairo to try to reach an agreement to end hostilities.
Israeli ground forces were to stay in place in Gaza during the ceasefire window.
The ceasefire announcement came at the end of another day of violence in Gaza, with 79 Palestinians killed in Israeli strikes, according to the health ministry. 1,443 Gazans have died in the 23-day conflict, the ministry said.
Two Israelis were injured in rocket fire on Kiryat Gat. At least 90 rockets were fired at Israel Thursday, with 17 intercepted by Iron Dome, the IDF said.
There were mixed warnings late Thursday from the IDF for journalists to evacuate at least three hotels in Gaza.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the shelling of a UN school Wednesday was “totally indefensible” and said “It does not appear there is a lot of doubt about whose artillery was involved in this incident.”
The UN said 236,374 displaced Gazans were housed in 86 shelters, with an average shelter population of 2,750.
Under Int Hum Law, Israel the Occupying Power bears primary responsibility 4 protecting Palestinian civilians & ensuring basic needs r met— Chris Gunness (@ChrisGunness) July 31, 2014
Updated at 11.54pm BST
There’s a possibility US secretary of state John Kerry may join the Cairo talks, Guardian Washington correspondent Paul Lewis reports:
Senior US diplomats are also traveling to Cairo to facilitate peace talks. Western diplo tells me "a possibility" that Kerry will join them.— Paul Lewis (@PaulLewis) July 31, 2014
ABC News’ Jon Williams is tweeting a statement by Kerry in India. During the ceasefire, Kerry says, “neither side will advance beyond current location.... As soon as the ceasefire under way, Egypt will issue invitation to come to Cairo right away to engage in negotiations.”
Kerry: This is not a time of congratulations and joy… but time to focus on the road ahead… a respite.. opportunity to find solution #Gaza— Jon Williams (@WilliamsJon) July 31, 2014
Updated at 11.46pm BST
A key line from the ceasefire statement: “During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place.”
A take by Washington Post correspondent William Booth:
Israeli forces will "remain in place" during ceasefire, assume that means tunnel destruction will continue, but likely finish soon.— William Booth (@BoothWilliam) July 31, 2014
Updated at 11.19pm BST
US officials attending talks in Cairo include:
US Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns & Mideast envoy Frank Lowenstein expected in Cairo for Egypt-mediated#Gaza talks after CF starts.— Matt Lee (@APDiploWriter) July 31, 2014
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told Reuters the group would abide by a three-day mutual ceasefire with Israel to begin early on Friday:
“Acknowledging a call by the United Nations and in consideration of the situation of our people, resistance factions agreed to a 72-hour humanitarian and mutual calm that begins at 8 a.m (0500 GMT) on Friday as long as the other side abides by it,” Hamas spokesman Abu Zuhri said.
“All the Palestinian factions are united behind the issue in this regard,” Abu Zuhri said.
Journalist Bel Trew, often based in Cairo, is in Gaza, and reportsconfusing, conflicting evacuation orders:
Musical chairs tonight-IDF called to say evacuate to Roots hotel,Roots apparently told to go ours,some journos went 2 Shifaa Hospital #Gaza— Bel Trew - بل ترو (@Beltrew) July 31, 2014
Idf has told journalists in three #Gaza city port area hotels to evacuate ahead of strikes— jesse rosenfeld (@jrosyfield) July 31, 2014
Updated at 11.15pm BST
From a doctor in Gaza:
A humanitarian ceasefire is to start 8 in the morning and extend for 72 hours. I hope Israel doesn't compensate with a massacre tonight.— Belal - Gaza (@Belalmd12) July 31, 2014
A video of Ban Ki-moon spokesman Stéphane Dujarric announcing a ceasefire for Friday morning is here.
The ceasefire statement was released in New Delhi, where secretary of state John Kerry is now meeting with Indian officials, AP reports.
Updated at 11.42pm BST
Spokesman to readout joint statement by #UNSG Ban Ki-moon & @JohnKerry on #Humanitarian Ceasefire Announcement #Gaza http://t.co/lZWaQN9DcA— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) July 31, 2014
Here is the joint statement from the UN and the US government:
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and United States Secretary of State John Kerry announce that the United Nations Representative in Jerusalem, Special Coordinator Robert Serry, has received assurances that all parties have agreed to an unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
This humanitarian ceasefire will commence at 8 am local time on Friday, August 1, 2014. It will last for a period of 72 hours unless extended.
During this time the forces on the ground will remain in place.
We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire.
This ceasefire is critical to giving innocent civilians a much-needed reprieve from violence. During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured, and restocking food supplies. Overdue repairs on essential water and energy infrastructure could also continue during this period.
Israeli and Palestinian delegations will immediately be going to Cairo for negotiations with the Government of Egypt, at the invitation of Egypt, aimed at reaching a durable ceasefire. The parties will be able to raise all issues of concern in these negotiations.
We thank key regional stakeholders for their vital support of this process, and count on a continued collaborative international effort to assist Egypt and the parties reach a durable ceasefire as soon as possible.
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