Wednesday, August 6, 2014
At 8 o'clock yesterday morning, local time, a 72 hour ceasefire between the Israeli military and the armed factions in the Gaza Strip began. The ceasefire was achieved due to the initiative and efforts of Egyptian mediators, who invited delegations from both sides to meet in Cairo and discuss the conditions for a long-term treaty.
A few minutes before the ceasefire came into effect, several Israeli strikes were reported across the Gaza Strip, and a number of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel.
A Palestinian delegation reportedly including representatives from Fatah, Hamas, and the Islamic Jihad, and an Israeli delegation, reportedly traveled to Cairo to discuss conditions for a long term ceasefire agreement. Palestinian delegate Qais Abdul Karim, "Abu Laila", said, "Egyptian officials, headed by intelligence chief, showed understanding to our demands, but they said they play the role of mediator and will transfer these demands to the Israeli side."
Spokespersons on behalf of both sides told CNN the ceasefire must be respected. Hamas spokesperson Osama Hamdan said: "We hope they can take it and be committed to a cease-fire". Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israeli wants "quiet and security [for] the citizens of Israel".
In this latest conflict, over 1,800 Palestinians, according to Gaza officials, and 67 Israelis have died. Several prior ceasefire initiatives have been violated, with counter-accusations about which side dragged the other into fighting.
The UN gladly accepted the current Egyptian initiative and Ban Ki-moon, UN's secretary general, called for talks to commence in Cairo as soon as possible. The US White House has also expressed its support, and White House deputy national security advisor Tony Blinken said, quoted AFP, "the aim of this initiative is to allow us to see if a ceasefire could be reached over a longer period of time".
== Sources ==
Karl Penhaul, Salma Abdelaziz, Steve Almasy and Matthew Chance. "Gazans return to shattered homes as negotiators prepare to discuss cease-fire" — CNN, August 6, 2014
"Israel pulls troops out of Gaza" — BBC News Online, August 5, 2014
"U.S. Welcomes Declaration of Ceasefire between Israel and Gaza" — Palestinian News & Info Agency, August 5, 2014
Hassan Dohan. "Egypt to reach a new agreement for a cease-fire" — Palestine News Network, August 4, 2014