Israel and Hamas announce ceasefire

Benjamin Netanyahu Editorial credit: paparazzza / Shutterstock.com

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has announced a ceasefire to halt 11-days of fighting with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

A statement said his security cabinet unilaterally approved the Egyptian-mediated proposal.

Palestinian resistance groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad confirmed the ceasefire, saying it would come into force at 23:00 GMT on Thursday.

At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, have been killed in 11 days of Israeli bombardment.

On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, have been killed.

The ceasefire comes amid heightened pressure from the U.S. and the European Union.

Earlier on Thursday, the White House said U.S. President Joe Biden had spoken with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who helped mediate the upcoming truce.

Palestinian Islamic resistance group Hamas. Editorial credit: Abed Rahim Khatib / Shutterstock.com

“The two leaders discussed efforts to achieve a ceasefire that will bring an end to the current hostilities in Israel and Gaza. They agreed that their teams would stay in constant communication toward that end and the two leaders would stay closely in touch,” the White House said at the time.

Hamas began shooting rockets at Israel on May 9. The initial attacks were in response to Israel’s invasion of the al-Aqsa Mosque and its attempts to forcibly evict Palestinian families in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

Protests erupted in Sheikh Jarrah over the decision, and within days, solidarity demonstrations spread across the rest of occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as well as Gaza.

Commenting on the ceasefire, Ramzy Baroud, editor of the Palestine Chronicle, said: “Today, the Palestinian resistance scored a major victory, arguably unprecedented in its proud history. This is the first time ever that Israel is forced to accept that the rules of the game have changed, likely forever, and it is no longer the only party that determines political outcomes in occupied Palestine.

“The consequences of this realisation and Israeli defeat will be far-reaching, not only in the Palestinian people’s collective struggle for freedom and liberation, but also in the nature, scope and language of international solidarity with Palestine and the Palestinian people.

“We said it a million times before, and now, we say it again but with greater confidence than ever before, only steadfastness, only sumud, only muqawama, only resistance will deliver justice and freedom in Palestine. Nothing else matters. Nothing else counts.”

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