- The ceasefire came through mediation by Egypt and came into effect on both sides on Friday at 2:00 am (1:00 am CET).
- So far, the ceasefire is in effect. There were no reports of new rocket attacks on Israel. The Israeli army also stopped its attacks.
- The Israeli prime minister talks about “new rules of the game”. The Palestinian Islamic Organization is threatening a strategy of zero tolerance.
During a visit to the military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would respond strongly to the new rocket attacks from the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu celebrates the ceasefire as a success
Netanyahu has spoken of great successes in the fight against Hamas. An underground wall along the Gaza Strip, completed prior to the operation, completely prevented the possibility of a Hamas tunnel attack. But defensive tunnels were also destroyed, the so-called metro network located under residential areas in the coastal strip itself, “Hamas can no longer hide.”
In addition, the Israeli army killed several leading members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, according to Netanyahu. “Those who were not killed know that our long arm can reach them anywhere – above and below ground.”
Hours earlier, a Hamas official warned that the Palestinian Islamic Organization was still “putting its hand on the trigger.”
“A real opportunity” for Biden
US President Joe Biden welcomed the ceasefire in a televised address and thanked Egypt for the mediation. The ceasefire provides a “real opportunity” for progress toward lasting peace in the Middle East. The United States is ready to help the Palestinian Authority – but not Hamas – with reconstruction.
The US Secretary of State is planning a visit
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken plans to travel to the Middle East in the coming days. This was announced by Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi in a phone call on Thursday (local time). And as the US State Department has confirmed, Blinken wants to meet there with his Israeli and Palestinian counterparts, among others.
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi thanked the US President on Twitter for his role in implementing the Egyptian ceasefire initiative.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations calls for dialogue
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also welcomed the commitment to the ceasefire. “All parties must work to preserve the truce,” he wrote in a tweet on Twitter.
“I stress that the responsibility of the Israeli and Palestinian leaders goes beyond restoring calm,” said United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Specifically, starting a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict.
Riyad al-Maliki, a Palestinian diplomat, said the ceasefire allowed two million Palestinians to sleep at night. But this “was not enough at all,” and the world must now address the issues of the future of Jerusalem and the achievement of an independent Palestinian state.
Hamas’s approval is not surprising
Hamas’s agreement to the ceasefire was not a surprise. The Israeli army’s attacks on the infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, including tunnels, bunkers, weapons stores, and workshops, caused great losses to the organization.
In the Gaza Strip, thousands of people took to the streets again without much fear. The fighters fired their weapons in the air and many shouted “God is Great”.
Nearly 250 people died
The fighting that began on May 10 killed 232 people in Gaza and 12 in Israel. The toughest skirmishes between Israel and Palestinian extremists arose from years of clashes at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.
Last Monday, the conflict escalated after a rocket was fired by Hamas. Israel responded with massive attacks in the coastal region. Tensions have been exacerbated by plans to evacuate Palestinian families’ homes in East Jerusalem. Jewish settlers claim the land.