Isreali-Palestinian ceasefire begins after 11 days of violence

ISRAEL and Palestine agreed to a ceasefire brokered by Egypt on Thursday, in addition to pressure mounted by the international community, ending 11 days of fighting that has killed 243 Palestinians, including 66 children and 12 people in Israel.

The ceasefire came into effect 2 a.m. on Friday after more than 1,900 people were injured, with 58,000 Palestinians displaced from their homes and at least 18 health facilities, including other critical infrastructure, destroyed.

In the countdown to the 2 a.m. truce, rocket attacks from the Palestinian militant group had continued and Israel had carried out at least one airstrike. However, there has been no report of violations Friday, though each side said it stood ready to retaliate for any attacks by the other.

Earlier today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said that Israel would respond with “a new level of force against any expression of aggression against communities around Gaza and any other part of Israel.”

On Thursday, a senior member of the Hamas political bureau Ezzat El-Reshiq said: “It is true the battle ends today but Netanyahu and the whole world should know that our hands are on the trigger and we will continue to grow the capabilities of this resistance.”

El-Reshiq also told Reuters in Doha that the movement’s demands included protecting the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and ending the eviction of several Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem.

Egypt, which also mediated a ceasefire agreement between both countries after four days of violence that left more than 20 Palestinians dead in 2012, said it would send two delegations to monitor the ceasefire.

Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who visited Israel and Ramallah on Thursday, welcomed the truce.

“Good that there is now a cease-fire,” Maas posted on Twitter. “Now we have to deal with the causes, rebuild trust and find a solution to the Middle East conflict,” he said.

In his brief remarks, US President Joe Biden said Thursday that the deal opened an opportunity to seek a broader peace agreement amid the parties.






     

     

    “I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy,” he said.

    “My administration will continue our quiet, relentless diplomacy toward that end. I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I’m committed to working for it,” Biden added.

    Fighting between both countries began with clashes that first erupted months ago when several Palestinian families living in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah were threatened with eviction from their homes.

    The ceasefire agreement comes after international diplomatic efforts and growing pressure from Israel’s closest ally, the United States, to bring an end to the most intense conflict between Israel and Hamas since the 2014 war in Gaza.

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