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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Israel And Hamas Reach Gaza Ceasefire After Eight Days Of Fighting

Nicholas Slayton |
November 21, 2012 | 11:47 a.m. PST

Executive Producer

Iron Dome system on the Gaza Strip, Nov. 17, 2012 (Creative Commons).
Iron Dome system on the Gaza Strip, Nov. 17, 2012 (Creative Commons).

Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire after eight days of fighting between the two sides.

The ceasefire, which went into effect at 1900 GMT, comes after more than a week of attacks on the Gaza Strip where dozens have been killed, including children and journalists. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the ceasefire following days of negotiations in Cairo. Egypt has been the main broker for talks between Hamas and Israel, while Clinton flew to Israel and then Egypt to try and leverage the Israeli government to stop the fighting.

Under the agreement, Hamas and all Palestinian factions within the Gaza Strip will stop firing rockets into Israel. At the same time, Israel will immediately halt all bombardments of Gaza, and cease its “targeted killings” of Hamas officials. Tomorrow, according to the ceasefire, Israel is set to reopen all border crossings into the Palestinian territory. Gaza is the world's densest population center, and lives under blockade, with limited amounts of supplies coming into the country.

The fighting started last week out of growing tensions between Israel and Hamas. Israeli forces killed Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip, while Hamas' militant wing and other armed groups inside the territory fired rockets across the border into Israel. Israel launched a major bombardment of Gaza, killing Hamas' military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari.

As part of the deal, Egypt remains the chief negotiator for both sides in the immediate follow-up to today's ceasefire. According to the text of the agreement, “Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon...Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt as a sponsor of this understanding, shall be informed to follow up.”

The ceasefire comes after heavy escalation in violence between the two sides. Following an order from the cabinet, Israel mobilized 75,000 reservists, raising fears that Israel would begin a second Operation Cast Lead, the military invasion of Gaza in 2008 that killed hundreds. Earlier today, a bomb exploded on a Tel Aviv bus in an apparent terrorist attack, wounding 28 people.

Israel's government also asked for a delay on signing the ceasefire earlier, due to internal division. Defense Minister Ehud Barak supporting the terms, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not, Haaretz reported.

Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of Gaza here.
Reach Executive Producer Nicholas Slayton here. Follow him here.



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