Israel and Hamas agree to ceasefire
After eight days of fierce exchanges between Israel and the Hamas militant group in control of the Gaza Strip, the two parties reached a cease-fire agreement.
If effective, the cease-fire will halt the Israeli blockade on the Gaza strip and Hamas attacks against Israel. During the eight days, 140 Palestinians were killed by over 1,500 Israeli airstrikes and five Israelis were killed by 1,000 retaliatory rockets. The deal officially took effect at 9 p.m. local time (1 p.m. CST). The agreement restricts “all hostilities,” meaning no missiles, assassinations, or bombings for either side.
“[This will] improve conditions for the people of Gaza and provide security for the people of Israel,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, according to Yahoo News, Nov. 21.
Egypt, led by foreign minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, helped to broker the deal. As a result of its crucial role in the negotiations, Egypt will remain important in ensuring that fighting does not break out again. The agreement specifically states that “In [the] case of any observations, Egypt — as the sponsor of this understanding — shall be informed to follow up.”
Following an increase in rocket attacks from Hamas, Israel retaliated against the Gaza Strip on Nov. 14 with a series of bombing attacks, one of which killed the top Hamas military commander. A bus bomb in Tel Aviv raised tensions further, but following a discussion between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, Netanyahu decided against invading Gaza and instead signing the peace agreement. Missiles continued to be fired right up until the agreement officially took effect. #