Israel, Hamas Confirm Gaza Cease Fire Starting Wednesday Night
Cairo, Egypt — A Gaza cease-fire was announced in Cairo on Wednesday and promises an end to hostilities by both sides beginning at 9 pm local time.
The cease-fire comes on the eighth day of violence between Israel and Hamas. Israel began an operation called Pillar of Defense in response to rockets fired at the nation from Gaza in the past years, notes The Guardian.
The agreement between the Palestinians and Israel also promises open border crossings that may help ease the five year blockade on the Gaza Strip.
The Gaza cease-fire was announced by Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr, who stood alongside US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The White House announced that President Obama praised Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for agreeing to the Egyptian-led cease-fire plan “while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself.”
The United States will also use the opportunity the truce agreement gives to help Israel address its security needs, especially the problem of smuggling weapons and explosives into Gaza, reports CBS News.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the agreement, which says that Israel and Hamas will immediately halt violence in the region. Israel will end its Pillar of Defense operation to assassinate top Hamas officials. In return, Hamas will stop all rocket fire by the militant groups that operate in the Gaza Strip.
There will be a brief cooling off period after the Gaza cease-fire begins. Then Israel will ease the blockade of Gaza, though there are no firm assurances on how they plan to accomplish it. Talks on a new border arrangement will likely begin after the 24-hour cooling off period.