A ceasefire has been announced between Israel and Hamas after eight days of brutal fighting. The announcement was made in a joint news conference between Egypt foreign minister, Mohamed Kamel Amr, and American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. Since the beginning of the Israeli military offensive into Gaza, 149 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli military, including young children. Here’s the video:
Operations have resulted in 1,500 strikes by Israel into Gaza and over 1,400 rockets fired into Israel by militants. Five Israelis have been killed and many more wounded.
A 72-hour ceasefire has been agreed upon according to sources, but the ceasefire notably does not include Israel lifting a blockade of Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas Islamists that do not recognize the state of Israel.
Hillary Clinton’s role in the ceasefire agreement has been reported on by Al Jazeera, a news agency located in Qatar:
Clinton arrived earlier in the day from Israel where she held a second round of talks on Wednesday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after travelling to the West Bank city of Ramallah for a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian leader.
In their talks, Clinton thanked Abbas for encouraging a restoration of calm and expressed “heartfelt concern for innocent lives lost” on both sides, Victoria Nuland, spokesperson for the state department, said.
“The secretary indicated that we were working to support ongoing efforts to defuse the crisis, especially Egyptian-Israeli conversations,” Nuland said in a statement issued in Washington.
Addicting Info also reported on Clinton’s involvement in the crisis:
As we enter the second week of the latest round of violence between Gaza and Israel, the world watches with growing alarm as the number of dead grows to 133, including, so far, 21 children. In this ancient battle with positions and passions as fierce and intractable as any in history, the two sides have ebbed and flowed towards peace many times over the years but, for a host of reasons that both change and remain painfully the same, fragile compromises reached, never, ultimately, hold. But still, the brokers involved, whether Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, or the various leaders of the Middle East who have reached across in a handshake, relied on wisdom and objectivity to find middle ground.
Now it’s Hillary Clinton’s turn. In what some describe as a “swan song” of her concluding tenure as Secretary of State, hope is high that with her extensive international experience and the deep respect accorded her by world leaders, she will inspire less a swan song than a “phoenix” of peace to rise out of the ashes of current hostilities.
CNBC reports on what the possible outline of a ceasefire agreement should be:
Israel’s best-selling Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper had reported an emerging outline of a ceasefire agreement that called for Egypt to announce a 72-hour ceasefire followed by further talks on long-term understandings.
Under the proposed document, which the newspaper said neither party would be required to sign, Israel would hold its fire, end attacks against top militants and promise to examine ways to ease its blockade of Gaza, controlled by Hamas Islamists who do not recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist.
Hamas, the report said, would pledge not to strike any Israeli target and ensure other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip also stop their attacks.
Hopefully this development will lead to less violence in the middle east and more respect for the Palestinian plight, which is under-reported in the United States because of our close military relation with Israel. Additionally, some perceive Israel as having an overly aggressive attitude through a false justification of self-defense. Time will tell if a truce holds and betters relations in the Middle East.