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US Pins Hopes on Last-Ditch Cease-Fire Proposal for Gaza

Fri, 25 Jul 2014 09:30:17 +0000

State Department photo/ Public Domain(WASHINGTON) -- The last best chance for a quick resolution to the crisis in Gaza could come Friday, after Israel and Hamas review a cease-fire proposal drafted by Secretary of State John Kerry.

With the conflict becoming increasingly bloodier, Kerry is not much concerned with the Israeli response as he is with the militant group Hamas, which has so far rejected every plan to end the 19-day air and ground war.

According to Israeli officials, the proposal is in three parts and includes a one-week cease-fire in Gaza in which Israel will not totally withdraw its force; negotiations toward a more lasting agreement; and assurances from the U.S., European Union and United Nations that there will be serious talks about disarming Hamas of rockets and tunnels and the lifting of the blockade of Gaza.

Apparently, the major stumbling block is Hamas political wing chief Khaled Meshal, who has taken a harder line than other members of his militant organizations.

Foreign ministers from Qatar and Turkey will try to convince Meshal to accept the cease-fire plan. Failing to do so will likely mean Israel will escalate its offensive in Gaza, which has cost 800 Palestinian lives as well those of 32 Israeli soldiers.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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