By Justyna Pawlak BRUSSELS (Reuters) - When Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans spoke to his European Union peers of his grief and anger over the downing of a Malaysia Airlines airliner over eastern Ukraine, it was a turning point in Europe's approach to Russia. Several ministers had tears in their eyes when Timmermans said he had known personally some of the 194 Dutch passengers among the 298 people who died on the plane, which Washington believes pro-Russian separatists shot down in error. "To my dying day I will not understand that it took so much time for the rescue workers to be allowed to do their difficult job, and that human remains should be used in a political game," Timmermans told the U.N. Security Council hours earlier, before flying overnight to Brussels for the crucial EU session. Until that meeting on Tuesday, Europe had trailed the United States in imposing economic sanctions to pressure Moscow into working to defuse the eight-month crisis in Ukraine in which hundreds of people have been killed.
Israel has agreed to a 12-hour humanitarian ceasefire in fighting with militants in the Gaza Strip to start at 8 a.m. (1 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, a military spokeswoman said. The spokeswoman said that during the brief truce, troops would keep searching for tunnels used by militants and that the military will "respond if terrorists choose to exploit this time to attack Israel Defense Forces personnel or fire at Israeli civilians." "Gaza civilians who have been requested to vacate from their residents are to refrain from returning," the spokeswoman said.