Yesterday, Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas agreed to a ceasefire, after 11 days of bloody conflict that left hundreds dead. Specifically, the truce will hold off all military activity, but will likely not do anything to resolve the issues between the two parties.
Israel Agrees to Ceasefire
By Thursday afternoon, the Israeli cabinet confirmed their decision to agree to a ceasefire. In a statement, the Jewish state said they agreed to an unconditional cessation of hostilities. “The Security Cabinet convened tonight. The Political Security Cabinet unanimously accepted the recommendation of all security officials, the chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet [internal security agency], the head of the Mossad [foreign intelligence], and the head of the National Security Council, to accept the Egyptian initiative for a bilateral unconditional ceasefire, which will take effect at a later date,” the statement read.
“The chief of staff, the military echelon, and the head of the GSS reviewed before the ministers Israel’s great achievements in the campaign, some of which were unprecedented,” the statement added. “The political echelon emphasizes that the reality on the ground will determine the continuation of the campaign,” it added.
Hamas Agrees To Ceasefire
Meanwhile, Hamas, the militant group controlling Gaza, also said yes to the ceasefire. In a statement to Fox News, Hamas confirmed its participation. “We were informed by our brothers in Egypt that an agreement had been reached for a mutual and simultaneous ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, starting at 2 a.m. on Friday, May 21, 2021,” the group said.
Hamas also said that Palestinian resistance will abide by this agreement as long as the other side similarly remains committed to the ceasefire. Already, a Hamas official claims that the ceasefire meant a victory for Palestinians. He said that “The ceasefire announced by Israel amounts to a ‘victory’ for the Palestinian people and a defeat for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
Cessation of Hostilities
The ceasefire is a much welcome development after 11 days of sporadic clashes between the Israeli Defense Force and Hamas. At least 12 Israelis and 230 Palestinians died in back and forth attacks. Additionally, hundreds of more people received wounds from the fighting. Media outlets believe that the current unrest is the latest and worst outbreak of violence in the area since 2014.
During the 11-day skirmishes, Hamas fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israel. However, most of the rockets ended up blown up by the Iron Dome, Israel’s missile defense system. Consequently, Israel launched airstrikes into Gaza, targeting military installations and taking out suspected Hamas leaders.
The ceasefire is a result of numerous attempts from the United Nations and many countries. In the US, President Joe Biden attempted to convince Israel to agree to a ceasefire. Initially, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the calls for de-escalation. After hearing hi cabinet, however, the prime minister agreed to the ceasefire brokered by Egypt.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres added his voice to calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. “If there is a hell on Earth, it is the lives of children in Gaza today. Even wars have rules. First and foremost, civilians must be protected,” he said during a meeting.
Netanyahu’s Critics Slam Decision
Meanwhile, right-wing Israeli officials warned Natenyahu from agreeing to a truce. New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar is among those disappointed by the Prime Minister’s actions. “The cessation of Israeli military activity without imposing any restrictions preventing the arming and strengthening of Hamas and without the return of the soldiers and civilians held in Gaza will be a political failure, the price of which will be paid, with interest, in the future,” said Sa’ar.
Another Netanyahu critic noted that a ceasefire “would seriously harm Israeli deterrence” against terrorist organizations like Hamas. Yisrael Beytenu chair Avigdor Liberman laid the blame squarely on Netanyahu. “The one who nurtured Hamas and enabled it to get to where it is today is Netanyahu,” he said.
Do you agree with the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas? Will the ceasefire amount to greater peace, or is it just a lull before new fighting breaks out? Let us know what you think about Israel and Hamas. Leave your comments below.