Israeli cabinet approves Egyptian mediation–ceasefire bid

The Israel cabinet approved the Egyptian mediation initiative accepted by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in time for the ceasefire proposed by Cairo to go into effect Tuesday at 9 a.m. US Secretary of State John Kerry cancels his Cairo visit at the last minute. Cairo’s proposal was rejected by Hamas’ military chiefs and Jihad Islami, both whom claimed it was published without consulting them. They demand direct dialogue with the Egyptian government to present their terms, starting with the lifting of the blockade on the Gaza Strip. Israeli air strikes continued overnight – 25 in all – and early Tuesday. Hamas rockets dwindled during the night and began slowly Tuesday. Overnight two rockets were fired at Eilat from Sinai for the first time in the current round of hostilities. Flying shrapnel caused some injuries. Rockets were also fired from Lebanon and Syria.

DEBKAfile:  Kerry’s abrupt cancellation of his Mid East trip indicates that Washington opts to stay out of the Egyptian initiative for Gaza and is leaving President El-Sisi and Prime Minister Netanyahu get on with it themselves.

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