Israel’s security cabinet – its inner circle of senior officials – was to meet Friday to consider the
plan, laid out by Kerry on a visit to Israel and the West Bank on Wednesday.
The day also marks the final Friday of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting and prayer, and a
feast was expected to begin Sunday or Monday. The upcoming occasion lends symbolic weight to
a proposed short-term halt to hostilities.
But Friday, the main Muslim prayer day of the week, is also a traditional flashpoint for protests,
and the Palestinian Fatah movement called for a “day of rage” in solidarity with those suffering in
Gaza. Thousands of Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces on Thursday night in Palestinian
neighborhoods in east Jerusalem and a main crossing point between Israel and the West Bank. At
least one protester was killed.
The demonstrations, the most serious since the start of the offensive, were sparked by at least 15
deaths in explosions at a U.N. shelter in northern Gaza on Thursday. Hamas blamed Israel, but
the Israeli military said the incident was still under investigation, leaving open the possibility that
errant rocket fire from militants might have been to blame.
Meanwhile, Hamas and other fighters in Gaza unleashed a new volley of rockets at Israel, most of
them intercepted by its antimissile defense system. One scored a direct hit on an apartment
building in the southern town of Ashkelon, causing damage but no injuries.
Israel’s Ben Gurion airport, the country’s main international gateway, remained hobbled by flight
cancellations on Friday, even though aviation safety officials in the United States and Europe had
lifted a flight suspension imposed after a rocket fell near the airport on Tuesday. Most U.S.,
European and regional carriers were still refraining from takeoffs and landings at Ben Gurion,
though Israel’s national airline El Al kept flying.
Special correspondent Sobelman reported from Jerusalem and staf writer