Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CBS News Israel would not accept a Hamas offer of a ceasefire, saying the Palestinian militant group had rejected an earlier offer while continuing to fire rockets at Israel.
“Israel has accepted five ceasefires since this conflict began. Five,” Netanyahu said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” ”We accepted them and we implemented them, including two humanitarian ceasefires in the last 24 hours which Hamas rejected – as they rejected all the other ceasefires – and they violated them.”
“Israel is doing what any country would do, and certainly what the U.S. would do,” Netanyahu said.
Attacks resumed early Sunday morning after Hamas rejected a proposal from Israel on Saturday to extend a previous cease-fire. In less than 12 hours, 25 rockets had been fired at Israel, according to the Israeli military. Hamas then accepted the ceasefire Sunday, to resume at 2 p.m. local time.
Palestinian senior adviser Mohammad Shtayyeh appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday as well, stating that Palestinians want peace with Israel and that ”all this aggression is totally unjustified.”
“Eighty percent of those killed in Gaza are civilians,” Shtayyeh said.
The weeks long battle in Gaza has taken more than a thousand Palestinian lives and injured as many as 6,000 others, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Forty-three Israeli soldiers and three Israeli civilians have died. Many Israelis have fled their homes in southern Israel to avoid rocket attacks, according to NBC News, while thousands of Palestinians have seen their homes demolished by Israeli air strikes. Overnight, thousands of protesters in Tel Aviv emerged to demand an end to the fighting. There were over thirty Israeli attacks on Gaza today, while Hamas fired at least fifty-six rockets.
“The blockade of and the closure on Gaza must end; there must be security based on mutual recognition, and there must be a viable two-state solution by which Israelis and Palestinians can live side by side in peace and security,” a spokesperson for UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon said Saturday.
Hamas is demanding an easing of Israeli border restrictions on Gaza since the group took power in 2007, following a violent split with Fatah, the dominant Palestinian political party in the West Bank. Israel has maintained a blockade of Gaza ever since.
The White House said that Netanyahu and President Barack Obama spoke Sunday afternoon. According to the administration, Obama “made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement.” Obama also “underscored” the “enduring importance of ensuring Israel’s security, protecting civilians, alleviating Gaza’s humanitarian crisis, and enacting a sustainable ceasefire that both allows Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives.”