A ceasefire came into force in the Gaza Strip after Egypt and Qatar brokered an agreement between Israel and Hamas to halt 11 days of bloodshed.
Thousands of people in Gaza and the occupied Palestinian territories poured onto the streets to celebrate the truce, waving flags and flashing “V” signs for victory.
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At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment. On the Israeli side, 12 people, including two children, died.
Here is global reaction to the latest developments:
Antonio Guterres, United Nations secretary-general
“I stress that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility beyond the restoration of calm to start a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict.
“Gaza is an integral part of the future Palestinian state and no effort should be spared to bring about real national reconciliation that ends the division.”
Joe Biden, US president
“We remain committed to work with the United Nations and other international stakeholders to provide rapid humanitarian assistance and to marshal international support for the people in Gaza and in the Gaza reconstruction efforts.”
“I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy.”
“My administration will continue our quiet, relentless diplomacy toward that end. I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I am committed to working for it.”
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Egyptian president
“With utter happiness, I have received a phone call from President Biden in which we have exchanged visions around reaching a formula that would calm the current conflict between Israel and Gaza, our vision was in tune about managing the conflict between all parties with diplomacy.”
Jordanian foreign ministry spokesman Dhaifallah Ali al-Fayez said the ceasefire was a “positive and necessary first step”.
“Israel must comply with it and stop the provocations and escalation in the occupied territories,” he said in a statement, calling for the start of “serious negotiations aimed at achieving a comprehensive, lasting and just peace on the basis of a two-state solution”.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, French foreign minister
“I welcome the ceasefire, which puts an end to a cycle of violence with a heavy civilian toll,” Le Drian said in a statement, hailing the “fundamental role” played by Egypt as a mediator.
He said that the violence had “underscored the need for a relaunch of a genuine political process between the parties,” adding that without this “cycles of violence will be repeated”.
Charles Michel, European Council president
“Welcome announced ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ending the 11-day conflict. Opportunity for peace and security for citizens must be seized.”
Welcome announced ceasefire between Israel and Hamas ending the 11-day conflict.
Opportunity for peace and security for citizens must be seized.
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) May 20, 2021
Matthias Schmale, UNRWA Gaza director
“What a relief! The ugly sounds of war have finally subsided. Only the penetrating noise of surveillance drones in Gaza’s skies. The easy part will be to rebuild houses & infrastructure. Much harder & top priority to rebuild shattered lives and achieve justice & lasting peace.”
What a relief! The ugly sounds of war have finally subsided. Only the penetrating noise of surveillance drones in #Gaza's skies. The easy part will be to rebuild houses & infrastructure. Much harder & top priority to rebuild shattered lives and achieve justice & lasting peace.
— Matthias Schmale (@matzschmale) May 21, 2021
Tor Wennesland, UN Middle East peace envoy
“I welcome the ceasefire between #Gaza & #Israel. I extend my deepest condolences to the victims of the violence & their loved ones. I commend #Egypt & #Qatar for the efforts carried out, in close contact w/ the @UN, to help restore calm. The work of building #Palestine can start.”
I welcome the ceasefire between #Gaza & #Israel. I extend my deepest condolences to the victims of the violence & their loved ones. I commend #Egypt & #Qatar for the efforts carried out, in close contact w/ the @UN, to help restore calm. The work of building #Palestine can start.
— Tor Wennesland (@TWennesland) May 20, 2021
Maria Zakharova, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman
“This is an important but still insufficient step. In order to avoid a resumption of violence, we must double international and regional efforts on relaunching direct political negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.”
Saudi Arabia welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, its state-run news agency said.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA), citing a Foreign Ministry statement, thanked Egypt for its efforts and other international parties for reaching a truce.
The ministry expressed its “aspiration to find a just settlement for the Palestinian issue … in accordance with international legitimacy decisions and the Arab peace initiative.”
Turkey welcomed the ceasefire and said it hoped it would last, but Israel must be held to account for crimes it committed in Gaza the last two weeks, the foreign ministry said.
“In order to prevent a repeat of the pain and tears seen in Palestine, Israel must be held accountable in the international arena for the crimes it committed. A lifting of the inhumane siege it imposed on Gaza must be ensured,” the ministry said, calling on the United Nations Security Council to take action.
Beijing welcomed the truce and said the international community now needed to “extend helping hands” to the region. It said it would commit $1m in emergency aid and a further $1m to UN relief efforts for the Palestinians.
“The international community should promote the resumption of peace talks between Palestine and Israel, and achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestine issue on the basis of the two-state solution,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters.
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Israel had been “forced to accept defeat” by Palestinian fighter groups.
“I thank dear and almighty God for the victory and honour bestowed upon Palestinian fighters,” he said in a statement on his official website.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the UN
“Now, we must turn our focus toward making more tangible progress toward a durable peace. And we must work together to address the urgent humanitarian needs on the ground, which are especially – in fact significantly – immense in Gaza.”
Sudan welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinian factions, its foreign ministry said on Friday adding that it appreciated the Egyptian, regional and international efforts to reach this agreement.
In a statement, the ministry called on the international community, “and the American administration in particular”, to prevent any recurrence of what it said were deliberate violations and attacks on the rights of the Palestinian people.
Dominic Raab, UK foreign secretary
“Welcome news of a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza. All sides must work to make the ceasefire durable and end the unacceptable cycle of violence and loss of civilian life. UK continues to support efforts to bring about peace.”
Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysian foreign minister
“The Israeli attacks have left hundreds dead, thousands more injured. Malaysia conveys our deepest condolences to all victims of the violence. Let’s now focus on humanitarian & reconstruction aid for Palestinian people.”
The Iran-backed Hezbollah movement hailed a “historic victory” for the Palestinians after the ceasefire took effect on Friday between Israel and Gaza armed groups following 11 days of fighting.
“Hezbollah congratulates the heroic Palestinian people and its valiant resistance on the historic victory achieved … against the Zionist enemy,” it said in a statement.
Hezbollah, which fought its own devastating war with Israel in 2006 but remains a powerful force in Lebanese politics, has close relations with Gaza’s rulers Hamas.
The EU welcomed the truce and vowed to increase efforts for a long-term “political solution” to resolve the crisis.
“The European Union welcomes the announced ceasefire bringing to an end the violence in and around Gaza. We commend Egypt, Qatar, United Nations, United States and others who have played a facilitating role in this,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.
“We are appalled and regret the loss of life over these past 11 days. As the EU has consistently reiterated, the situation in the Gaza Strip has long been unsustainable… The EU is renewing its engagement with key international partners, including the United States, and other partners.”
Pope Francis hailed the ceasefire and urged the entire Catholic Church to pray for peace.
“I thank God for the decision to halt the armed conflicts and acts of violence, and I pray for the pursuit of paths of dialogue and peace,” he said.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas praised the cessation of hostilities.
“Good that there is now a ceasefire,” Maas tweeted. “Now we have to deal with the causes, rebuild trust and find a solution to the Middle East conflict.”