- In the Middle East conflict, Egypt’s mediation led to a ceasefire.
- A spokesman for Netanyahu announced Thursday evening that the Israeli cabinet had only unanimously approved the ceasefire proposed by Egypt.
- The radical Islamist movement Hamas later confirmed that the ceasefire was reciprocal and would take effect on both sides as of 2:00 am Friday (1:00 am CET).
- The two parties to the conflict declared that they would abide by the ceasefire as long as the other side.
In the past few days, several countries have attempted to halt missile and air strikes. In a phone conversation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden called for an immediate de-escalation.
During his appearance in the media on Thursday evening, the US President thanked Egypt for arranging a ceasefire and promised to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. At the same time, he affirmed that he would support Israel in preserving the Iron Dome.
The United States is Israel’s most important ally. More recently, Biden has also come under pressure from Democrats to play a stronger role in the effort to stop the fighting.
Hamas’s approval is not surprising
Hamas’s agreement to the ceasefire was not a surprise. The Israeli military attacks on its infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, including tunnels, bunkers, weapons depots and workshops, inflicted great losses on the organization.
Taher Al-Nono, an advisor to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza, said that the “armed resistance” of the Palestinians would abide by the cease-fire as long as the Israeli side adheres to it.
“Israel’s security is not negotiable.”
On Thursday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited Israel and the Palestinian territories and stood by the Jewish state: “For us, the security of Israel, as well as the security of all Jews in Germany, is non-negotiable,” he emphasized. The ruling Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip condemned Mas’s statements, describing them as “partisan.”
Maas also met President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit. This evening, he met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank.
Nearly 250 people died
In the fighting that broke out on May 10, nearly 250 people were killed, 12 of them on the Israeli side. 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 the homes of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem. Jewish settlers claim the land.
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