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Israel, Hamas Declare Ceasefire

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Egypt, which brokered the deal, will monitor the implementation of ceasefire and work to maintain it ‘permanently’

Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire late on Thursday, bringing an end to 11 days of deadly airstrikes that killed over 200 people and caused extensive damage to Palestinian infrastructure in Gaza City.

Gaza’s streets erupted in celebration minutes after the truce was announced, according to AFP and AP journalists. Joyful crowds similarly took to the streets in the West Bank. Brokered by Egypt, the truce has also been signed off by Gaza’s second-most powerful group, Islamic Jihad, and is considered a direct result of mounting international pressure to restore peace.

A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office confirmed that the security cabinet had “unanimously accepted the recommendation of all of the security officials … to accept the Egyptian initiative for a mutual ceasefire without pre-conditions.” It claimed its airstrikes had achieved “unprecedented” success in Gaza, a territory that has been under blockade since 2007. “The political leadership emphasizes that it is the reality on the ground that will determine the future of the operation,” it added, leaving the door open for it to resume its military strikes.

According to news agency AFP, diplomatic sources have claimed that “two Egyptian delegations will be dispatched to Tel Aviv and the Palestinian territories to monitor its [the ceasefire] implementation and procedures to maintain stable conditions permanently.”

Welcome development

The ceasefire announcement was welcomed by several world leaders, who stressed that this was an opportunity to address the root causes of the conflict. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Israel and Palestinians now had a responsibility to have “a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict.” He called on the international community to work with the U.N. on a “robust package of support for a swift, sustainable reconstruction and recovery.”

Britain also welcomed the ceasefire, with Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urging “all sides” to work together to ensure it succeeded and the cycle of violence came to a halt.

U.S. President Joe Biden, who had earlier voiced support for Israel’s right to self-defense, hailed Egypt’s role in brokering the agreement, while U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was ready to travel to the Middle East to help produce conditions that would improve the lives of Israelis and Palestinians.

Brutal campaign

The current bout of Israeli aggression erupted earlier this month after tensions in Jerusalem provoked clashes between Arabs and Jews, especially at the Al-Aqsa mosque. The Israeli army has claimed that Hamas has fired over 4,300 rockets toward Israel, but the vast majority were intercepted by its Iron Dome air defense program.

In the past 11 days, 12 Israelis have been killed, including two children and a soldier. Meanwhile, Israeli strikes have killed 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, and wounded around 1,900 others, according to the Gaza health ministry.

Authorities says there has been massive damage to infrastructure in Gaza, and around 120,000 people are estimated to have been displaced.

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