On Monday evening, Egypt announced that Hamas had accepted a 72-hour ceasefire to begin at 8:00 on Tuesday morning. Israel additionally agreed to accept the terms of the ceasefire, as it did three weeks ago. Both the United Nations and United States supported the ceasefire agreement.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling on both sides to “commence, as soon as possible, talks in Cairo on a durable ceasefire and the underlying issues” adding that he “welcomes the proactive engagement of the Palestinian delegation under the leadership of President Abbas” and that “the only way to sustainably stop the violence, which has cost far too many lives” is by resumption of talks.
Hamas stated on Tuesday that agreed to the ceasefire proposal, “on the condition Israel withdraws its forces, stop its aerial attacks and open the border crossing to aid, as well as accepts our demands on an airport and seaport.” Hamas officials reportedly told a Hezbollah-affiliated newspaper that, “despite the fact the al-Qassam Brigades are bound by the ceasefire, they won’t be afraid to respond to any infiltration or ground operation, even if it requires operating beyond the border.”
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri stated that one of the main results of the operation was “the destruction of Israeli deterrence” and that “the Palestinian people now have confidence in their ability to stand firm and fight.”
Gazan officials claim that the operation has killed 1,834 Palestinians and faces $6 billion in rebuilding.
From 1:00 am until just a half hour before the start of the ceasefire, no rockets were fired into Israel, however, a barrage of rockets were fired at Israel just minutes before the 8:00 am ceasefire, the IDF responding to the source of the fire with artillery fire. During the army’s withdrawal, 17 rockets were fired at Israel.
An IDF senior official confirmed that all of Hamas’s tunnels in Gaza have been destroyed as of Tuesday morning. There were reportedly 32 tunnels in total. The IDF also confirmed that by 8:00 am its troops would have pulled out of Gaza. The IDF reported that it had killed 900 operatives in Gaza during the 29 day Operation Protective Edge.
Israel will send a negotiations team to Cairo in efforts to “consolidate the ceasefire and permanently cease the hostilities between Israel and Hamas.” A senior Israeli official stated “Israel will bring to these discussions our top priority, which is preventing Hamas from rearming…. Their military machine has been largely dismantled, their network of tunnels destroyed and their arsenal of rockets greatly depleted. We believe that both regional and international cooperation can be effective in preventing Hamas from rearming.”
The official stated that, “regional actors have a major role” referring to Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. On restrictions on Gaza in regards to the opening of border crossing for goods, a major aspect of the ceasefire proposal, the official stated that, “These restrictions are a function of the hostility and the violence. If the hostility and the violence were to cease it would give Israel room to move on the restrictions that are primarily there for security reasons.”
The Palestinian Authority Minister Riad al-Malki will continue the Authority’s efforts to seek to press war crimes against Israel, and will visit the Criminal Court in the Hague Tuesday.
Photo source: Wikimedia Commons
Amir Tsarfati is the founder and president of Behold Israel, a news site to correct the scarcity in trustworthy reportage on issues and events impacting Israel, and to resolve the uncertainty about who or what to believe.