ISRAELI negotiators accepted an Egyptian-brokered deal with their Palestinian counterparts yesterday on a new 72-hour ceasefire for battle-scarred Gaza.
The agreement could pave the way for further indirect talks on a long-term cessation in hostilities in the Hamas-controlled area of Palestine.
But it has only been a week since Egypt brokered a similar deal which ended after three days with renewed fighting.
Initial reports suggested that Israel had refused to bargain.
“Israel will not negotiate under fire,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in public remarks at the weekly meeting of his cabinet in Tel Aviv.
“At no stage did we declare Israel’s military offensive was over.
Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon has been no less intransigent.
“If Hamas thinks it has worn us down, it is wrong,” he said. “We are not intending to compromise.”
Prior to the agreement yesterday, air strikes and shelling killed three Palestinians.
Gaza officials said that a 14-year-old boy had been killed and that four people were wounded in an Israeli airstrike in the central town of Deir al-Balah.
One woman was killed and eight family members were wounded in a strike on a home in the southern town of Bani Suheila and a man was killed in a separate strike on a house in the Jebaliya refugee camp, they said.
In addition to at least 20 air strikes throughout the day, Israeli navy gunboats fired at the Gaza fishing port and fire erupted in the building where fishermen store their equipment.
Meanwhile, in the West Bank, Israeli soldiers shot 11-year-old Palestinian boy Khalil Mohammed al-Anati in the back.
The Israeli military claimed its troops opened fire in response to a “violent riot.”
But Khalil’s family insisted that he had merely been playing outside his home at one end of al-Fawwar refugee camp.