Egypt launched an initiative on Monday to halt fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants, proposing a ceasefire to be followed by talks in Cairo on settling the conflict in which Gaza authorities say more than 170 people have died.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas praised the initiative, and thanked the Egyptians for the efforts to reach a calm. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set convene his decision-making security cabinet on Tuesday to discuss the proposal on the Gaza violence, an Israeli official said. However, some in his coalition, and even within his Likud party, have already slammed the deal.
- Egypt proposes Gaza ceasefire deal
- Lieberman: Ending Gaza operation now will only mean more fighting in future
- Two rockets from Lebanon hit north
Deputy Security Minister Danny Danon voiced disapproval of the Egyptian brokered ceasefire proposal saying, "A ceasefire is a slap in the face for the Israeli people."
MK Miri Regev, Likud, also responded to the reports on the deal, saying, "I call on the prime minister not to agree to a ceasefire and to make a military decision that will weaken Hamas through action in the air, land and sea."
According to her, "This window of opportunity won't return and any ceasefire with Hamas will allow the organization to return to power."
Sources from the Bayit Yehudi, one of the Likud's two major coalition partners, informed Ynet that their chairman, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, was planning on voting against Egypt's ceasefire initiative.
Bennett said he would oppose the proposal, calling it "good for Hamas and bad for Israel... A cease-fire at the present time shows the government's weakness," he said in a statement.
"A cease-fire now will create a bigger campaign against the south of the country and more rocket attacks in another year."
MK Ayelet Shaked, from the Bayit Yehudi, also responded to reports of the pending deal and said, "A ceasefire that does not harm tunnels and rockets is capitulation."
However, leftists and international leaders backed the deal. Quartet Representative Tony Blair said Monday that he welcomed "the statement from Egypt calling on the parties to implement a ceasefire to give a chance for a proper, full and long-term solution to Gaza to be put in place.
"Such a ceasefire can halt the tragic loss of life, stop the rockets on Israel - and open up the possibility of a genuine change in Gaza.
"But as I have said throughout this latest crisis, the only long-term solution that makes sense is one that gives hope to the people of Gaza; and one which gives Israel real and permanent security from rocket attacks, tunnels and terrorism.
Meretz Chairwoman MK Zahava Gal-On voiced support for the ceasefire proposal in comments made on Channel 2 News in which she encouraged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to make "the right choice".
MK Ilan Gilon, also from Meretz, stated that, "The ceasefire is a tactical achievement and at the moment we must build a permanent solution." According to him, "The solution in Gaza must go through Ramallah. It's up to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to call on Palestinian President Abu Mazen to return to peace talks."
Gilon praised residents of southern Israel saying, "Hugs to my sisters and brothers in the south for the responsibility, restraint and solidarity."
Before the deal was announced, the European Union said it was in touch with "all parties in the region" to press for an immediate halt to the hostilities, the worst flare-up of Israeli-Palestinian violence for almost two years.
Two members of Netanyahu's security cabinet suggested a truce might be in the works. "There are contacts all the time," Communications Minister Gilad Erdan said when asked about the possibility of Kerry visiting Cairo.
Bennett said in remarks on Channel 2 television "all options are on the table," though the far-right leader said the fighting could also go on.
Elior Levy, Moran Azulay and Reuters contributed to this report