Civilians caught in the crossfire between Israel and Hamas will get a brief break Thursday after the Israeli military agreed to a U.N. request for a "humanitarian ceasefire."
The Israeli Defense Forces said Wednesday that the military would hold its fire during a 5-hour window mid-Thursday, which "is meant to allow civilians to resupply needed goods." It followed the announcement up by saying, "If Hamas fires rockets at Israel during the humanitarian window, the IDF will respond with force."
Early reports said Hamas would accept the terms of the deal, but it's probably premature to think this means the situation is calming down.
The ceasefire will come nine days into what the IDF is calling "Operation Protective Edge." During the operation, more than 200 Palestinians and one Israeli have died, with the U.N. estimating 80 percent were civilians. (Via Israeli Defense Forces)
Hours before the temporary truce was announced, Hamas rejected a longer-term ceasefire proposed by Egypt and agreed to by Israel. (Via CBS)
With that rejection, it seems the violence is only going to get worse in the near future. An Al Jazeera reporter says there's even been high-level talk among Israeli officials of a ground assault.
"They have advocated for removing anybody's ability to fire rockets from Gaza into Israel 'once and for all.'"
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far shown reluctance to take things that far, but said at a press conference Tuesday, "When there is no cease-fire, our answer is fire."
One Israeli news outlet hints that even the temporary truce is part of an escalation, citing defense ministry officials saying it allows "for the residents of the Gaza Strip to see the massive destruction wrought by the IDF strikes." (Via Ynet)
In the meantime, the fighting continues. Four Palestinian children were killed while playing on the beach Wednesday by an Israeli warship, and the IDF says more than a thousand rockets have been fired into Israel. (Via BBC)