Is it over? Israel, Hamas agree to ceasefire

israel_hamas_cease-fire_gaza_22_11_2012

Despite some misgivings from his cabinet, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to an Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreement with Hamas. The news arrives less than 24 hours after Israeli airstrikes reduced Hamas headquarters to rubble, which can be seen in a stunning video.

The agreement eases restrictions on Gaza and allows relief aid and other materials to enter through the coast. Hamas claimed victory, despite the loss of their headquarters. Their statement and the nature of the ceasefire agreement seems to indicate that the conflict is over–for now. The Israeli offensive started on July 8.

Upon news of the deal, Palestinians were seen taking to the streets, waving jihadi and Hamas flags in celebration.  Meanwhile, most of Netanyahu’s cabinet reportedly opposed the ceasefire, but he overruled them. Many Israeli leaders have expressed skepticism about the deal. Israel has accepted several ceasefires, but Hamas has previously broken every one of them.

The Washington Post has more:

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip poured into the streets Tuesday to celebrate the announcement that Hamas and Israel had agreed to an open-ended cease-fire after 50 days of warfare that has killed more than 2,200 people.

“We have won,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri exulted at a news conference in front of Shifa Hospital. He said the group’s fighters had accomplished “what no Arab army has done. We have defeated them,” referring to Israel.

His exuberance aside, officials from Hamas and another Gaza-based militant group, Islamic Jihad, said the cease-fire agreement essentially brings Israel and Palestinians back to terms agreed on in the truce signed after the 2012 Gaza war.

A senior official in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, speaking about the latest cease-fire on the condition of anonymity, said Hamas had gained little, if anything, from the conflict, which has left vast tracts of Gaza in ruins.

“Hamas is now finally accepting a cease-fire proposal that was first proposed by Egypt on July 15,” the official said. “There is nothing more to the proposal than there was a month and a half ago.”

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