Israel’s cabinet has unanimously rejected a ceasefire proposal sponsored by US Secretary of State John Kerry expressing concerns over the proposal’s terms.
The rejection, reported in local Israeli media, came less than an hour before the US Secretary of State, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry were due to hold a press conference. The press conference, which was scheduled to commence at 8:30PM local time in Cairo, had widely been reported to be the announcement of a ceasefire initiative.
Hamas is yet to respond to the proposed ceasefire initiative, but its leader had stated the Palestinians would reject any proposal that did not contain terms that would end Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Israel’s military operations in Gaza, which commenced on July 8, have left at least 848 Palestinians dead, including 208 children, 82 women and 40 elderly people. More than 5,700 have been injured, including 1,779 children.
Meanwhile, more than 150,000 displaced Palestinians are now seeking shelter across 83 UNRWA shelters in Gaza.
School bombed by Israeli forces
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has confirmed that at least four Israeli shells struck one of its schools in Gaza on Thursday, killing at least 17 people and injuring more than 200.
According to eye-witness accounts, Israeli artillery fire struck the school being used as a shelter in Beit Hanoun earlier on Thursday. The majority of those killed and injured are reported to be women and children who had been relocated to the school after fleeing their homes in northern Gaza.
UNRWA’s spokesperson affirmed that UNRWA had formally given precise co-ordinates of the location of the UNRWA shelter in order to prevent such an attack from occurring, adding that no early warning had been given of an impending Israeli attack.
Israel has stated that it is investigating the bombardment of the school.