Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire, after more than a week of conflict left hundreds dead, most of them Palestinians. The truce signals an end to the immediate bloodshed, but will likely leave both sides further apart than ever.
Over 11 days, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) carried out a devastating aerial bombardment of Gaza, while the Palestinian militant group Hamas fired thousands of rockets into Israel, in violence that has underscored how elusive a longer term peace agreement has become. Israeli airstrikes killed 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there. At least 12 people in Israel, including two children, have been killed by Palestinian militant fire from Gaza, according to the IDF and Israel’s emergency service. A senior Hamas leader told CNN that the truce, under terms brokered by Egypt, would commence at 2am local time on Friday.
“The Security Cabinet convened this evening. And accepted unanimously the recommendation of all security elements — the Chief of Staff, the head of the Shin Bet, the Head of the Mossad, and the head of the National Security Council — to accept the Egyptian initiative for a mutual unconditional ceasefire that will go into effect at an hour to be agreed upon later,” read the statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Celebrations of the truce could be seen in Gaza and Tel Aviv following the announcement. In the early hours of Friday morning, a CNN reporter could see cars honking in the streets in joy, while a voice broadcast from a nearby mosque praised God. In Tel Aviv, the news drew a mix of reactions, from relief to skepticism. “I think its good the ceasefire is good for humanitarian reasons to let civilians relax a little bit on both sides. I am skeptical though that it will really be kept for a while,” said 22-year-old Tzvika Geft to Reuters. “I don’t think Israel has achieved much. I mean there no … no agreements about the future, nothing. But I guess good to have a bit of break.”