Palestinians, Israel Agree to New 72-Hour Truce In Gaza

Israel and Palestine have agreed to a new 72-hour cease-fire brokered by Egypt, Bloomberg is reporting.

The new cease-fire will take effect at midnight local time, or 5:00 pm Eastern time in the U.S.

The deal gives both sides a brief window to work out their larger differences. In a statement quoted in the Times of India, a spokesperson for the Egyptian foreign ministry said he urged both sides “to exploit this truce to resume indirect negotiations immediately and work towards a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire agreement.”

According to Bloomberg, the causes of the current conflict date back to 2006, and have erupted into violence three times. In particular, Israel wants Hamas completely de-militarized, and wants no more tunnels which allow Palestinians to sneak into Israel to be built (the existing tunnels have all been destroyed in the current conflict). The Palestinians want an end to the blockades — one Israeli, one Egyptian — that have left the Palestinians isolated and impoverished. They also want Israel to stop preventing the building of a Gaza seaport — a project that could bring economic relief to the Palestinians.

The ongoing conflict has claimed the lives of nearly 1,900 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and 67 Israelis, including three civilians. Israel claims that the Palestinians deliberately put civilians in harm’s way through the use of “human shields,” and by operating where civilians are likely to be, such as near schools and mosques, according to Bloomberg.

The Times of India reports that the violence has been getting steadily less intense since fighting broke out a July 8. Israel withdrew ground forces from Gaza last Tuesday.

The ongoing conflict has created a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, according to The Scotland Herald, that has left hundreds of thousands of Palestinians without access to food, water, or medical care. Delivering humanitarian aid has been difficult due to the Israeli and Egyptian blockades. Even a brief cease-fire allows for a “dramatic” increase in the amount of aid supplies delivered.

The Times of India reports that international pressure for a truce has not been as intense during the current conflict as it has been during others due to foreign governments being occupied with violent conflicts. The resulting humanitarian crises, in Iraq (some 40,000 Yazidis and Christians are currently trapped on a mountain, without food, water, or medical supplies, and surrounded by ISIS militants — see this Inquisitr article) and Ukraine.

Do you believe that this Egyptian-brokered truce will hold? Will it give the Israelis and Palestinians room to work out their differences? Let us know what you think in the comments.

[Image courtesy of: Dispatch]