After eight bloody days that saw 900 missiles being launched into Israel by Hamas militants, 1,500 bombings by Israel in the Gaza strip and the killing of 154 Palestinians and five Israelis, Israel and Palestine group Hamas have agreed on a ceasefire on Wednesday, which alone saw at least 13 people die in Gaza.
The ceasefire was announced by Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr at a news conference in Cairo with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who joined negotiations on Wednesday. Egypt has been involved in the negotiations on Hamas’s behalf.
The cease fire would take effect Wednesday evening, at 7 pm Greenwich Mean Time.
According to the ceasefire agreement, Israel will end all targeted bombings, while the Palestine Hamas group will stop firing rockets into Israel from the Strip.
The ceasefire deal says that Israel will “stop all hostilities on the Gaza Strip, land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals”, while “all Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks, and attacks along the border”.
Clinton, who flew to West Asia on an emergency trip to work out a truce between Israel and Hamas, called for an end to Hamas rocket attacks. She hailed the ceasefire agreement as an important step. “Now we have to focus on reaching a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security, dignity and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis alike,” said Clinton.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that he had agreed to a US suggestion “to give a chance to Egypt’s proposal for a ceasefire and so give an opportunity to stabilise the situation and calm it before there will be need to apply greater force”.
US President Barack Obama praised Israel for accepting the deal and said he would seek additional funding for the Iron Dome missile defence system, with which Israel was able to destroy many a rocket from Gaza mid-air during the conflict in the past week.
Obama also thanked Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi for his efforts to influence Hamas. Notably, Hamas was formed as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Mursi belongs. It is a known fact that ties between Hamas and Egypt have strengthened since Mursi was elected earlier this year.