[QODLink]
Middle East

Fresh ceasefire agreement holds in Gaza

Israel is expected to send negotiators to meet with Palestinian factions on Monday after new 72-hour truce agreed.

Last updated: 11 Aug 2014 04:53
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

A new 72-hour ceasefire has held into Monday morning in the Gaza Strip, raising hopes for a fresh respite in a bloody conflict between Israel and Hamas that has devastated the Palestinian enclave.

The truce was agreed after Egypt said it had received "simultaneous consensus" from both sides for the truce which began at 21:00 GMT on Sunday.

Israeli officials are said to have agreed to the deal for a new ceasefire negotiated by Palestinians in Cairo after mediation by Egypt.

Israel will send negotiators to the Egyptian capital on Monday if the truce holds.

Egypt called on both sides to use the lull to "reach a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire".

A previous 72-hour ceasefire brokered by Cairo ended on Friday morning, with the conflict resuming between Israel and Hamas, who run the Gaza Strip.

Israel withdrew from truce negotiations in Cairo on Friday, soon after the previous ceasefire ended in a firestorm of violence.

As of Sunday afternoon, the death toll in Gaza had reached 1,939. According to the UN, about 73 percent of the people killed were civilians.

A total of 64 Israeli soldiers were also killed as well as three civilians on the Israeli side.

Ending of the blockade

Al Jazeera's Nisreen El-Shamayleh, reporting from West Jerusalem, said that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, had come under intense pressure internationally and domestically.

"Internally, people are frustrated especially those who live in the south who had evacuated their homes along the border with Gaza for a month and then were told to return home during the ceasefire only to find out fighting has resumed," she said.

"He [Netanyahu] is also under pressure from the international community to return to Cairo for talks."

Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said that if talks to secure a permanent ceasefire led nowhere, going back into Gaza would be the only option.

"The moment the door closes and negotiations do not bear any fruit and we are faced with continued fire ... there will apparently be no choice, and then we will go in," he told public radio.

Meanwhile, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal told AFP news agency on Sunday that a lasting truce must lead to the lifting of Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Meshaal said the latest ceasefire deal "is one of the ways or tactics to ensure successful negotiations or to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza".

The final "goal we insist on is having the demands of Palestinians met and the Gaza Strip exist without a blockade".

428

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.