Gaza ceasefire enters into force | Free press

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Tel Aviv / Gaza (dpa) – A ceasefire in the Gaza conflict went into effect early Friday morning; Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli army must stop firing.

They followed a proposal from Egypt that had brokered opponents, as a spokesman for the Israeli government and representatives of Islam’s Hamas in the Gaza Strip confirmed Thursday evening.

The ceasefire is one-sided and takes place without any preconditions, a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. The political leadership had emphasized that the reality on the ground would determine the further course of the fighting. For example, if the Palestinians continue their rocket attacks, the ceasefire will be lifted immediately. Immediately following the announcement of Israel’s decision to institute a ceasefire, another missile alarm sounded in Israeli border towns on the outskirts of the Gaza Strip.

Nevertheless, Hamas also accepted the indirect agreement. “The ceasefire is reciprocal and will take effect on both sides on Friday 2:00 am (1:00 am CEST),” Taher al-Nuno, an adviser to Hamas chief Ismail Haniya, said in Gaza. The Palestinians’ “armed resistance” will hold them as long as the Israeli side does, he added.

The Islamists’ approval came as no surprise. The attacks by the Israeli army on its infrastructure in the Gaza Strip, including tunnels, bunkers, weapon depots and workshops, caused significant losses to Hamas.

According to US President Joe Biden, the ceasefire represents a “real opportunity” to make progress towards lasting peace in the Middle East. The US, along with the United Nations and other partners, is ready to provide the Palestinian Authority with humanitarian and reconstruction assistance, Biden said at the White House.

Biden paid tribute to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for stopping the fighting. He also thanked Egypt for its efforts to broker the ceasefire. There is now a real opportunity to make progress in the region, Biden said. “I believe that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy freedom, prosperity and democracy in equal measure.”

In the hours before the ceasefire was declared, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited Israel and the Palestinian territories. In doing so, he was again clearly on the side of the Jewish state. “For us, the security of Israel, as well as the security of all Jews in Germany, is non-negotiable,” he stressed.

In the hours before the ceasefire was declared, Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas visited Israel and the Palestinian territories. In doing so, he was again clearly on the side of the Jewish state. “For us, the security of Israel, as well as the security of all Jews in Germany, is non-negotiable,” he stressed.

Maas received sympathy and benevolence from his Israeli hosts. His colleague Gabi Aschkenasi thanked him for the solidarity of Germany. “I thank him for visiting us at this time, at a time when missiles are falling.”

Maas also met President Reuven Rivlin, Defense Secretary Benny Gantz and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit. The latter presented two debris from a drone. “Iran has sent us this armed drone,” he said. Israeli forces shot them at the border with Jordan. In the evening, Maas met Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas in Ramallah in the West Bank.

The ruling Hamas in the Gaza Strip condemned Maas’ statements as “partial”. “We are shocked by the media statements of the German Foreign Minister (…) regarding the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories,” the Hamas Office for International Affairs wrote in a statement.

Palestinian militants almost continuously attacked neighboring areas in Israel from the Gaza Strip on Thursday with rockets and mortars. The Israeli army asked residents near the Gaza border to stay in the bomb shelters. But even in the more distant towns of Ashkelon and Beersheva, the sirens continued to wail.

The conflict escalated on May 10 with Hamas rocket fire on Jerusalem. Israel responded with massive attacks in the coastal area. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 232 Palestinians were murdered on Thursday, including 65 children and adolescents. 1900 people were injured.

According to the Israeli military, militant Palestinians fired a total of 4,340 missiles at Israel, 640 of which fell in the Gaza Strip. The iron dome of the Israeli defense system (“Iron Dome”) intercepted 90 percent of the projectiles. Twelve Israelis died and more than 300 were injured.

The coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv – Israel’s economic center – was also hit more severely than ever with missiles during this escalation of the conflict. The warning sirens bellowed a total of ten times in the greater Tel Aviv area.