Israel and Palestinian officials announced Tuesday that they have reached a long term ceasefire agreement drawing an end to fifty days of death and destruction in the Gaza strip.
After Hamas officials broke the news, according to the Associated Press, Israeli officials are now confirming the truce which reportedly began at 7 PM local time (1600 GMT). As part of the agreement, Israel has reportedly agreed to ease their blockade on the Strip to allow for rebuilding materials to enter the war torn territory.
In a speech following the announcement, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas reinforced the complete destruction of Gaza after seven weeks of intense shelling and the pressing need for “materials” to help rebuild the schools, hospitals and places of worship so that Palestinians “will be able to live” in the days following the ceasefire.
“The disaster in Gaza is beyond imagination,” he said. During his speech, news outlets streamed images of people in Gaza celebrating in the streets.
According to senior Islamic Jihad official Ziad Nakhala, discussions regarding more long term issues—such as whether Palestinians in Gaza will be permitted to build a seaport or airport, and Israel’s demands for Hamas to be “demilitarized”—will begin in a month.
Talks on more complex issues, such as Hamas’ demand to build an airport and a seaport for Gaza, would begin in a month, said
“What is next?” Abbas continued, noting that the Gaza strip has been witness to three wars in the past decade. “Are we expecting another war after one year or two? To what extent will this issue go on without being solved?”
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Hamas officials have announced the acceptance of a long term ceasefire deal with Israel, it was widely reported Tuesday morning, after seven weeks of intense bombing by Israeli forces.
“An agreement has been reached between the two sides and we are awaiting the announcement from Cairo to determine the zero hour for implementation,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in Gaza, Reuters reports.
An anonymous Palestinian senior official told AFP that the peace talk “have led to a permanent ceasefire, a (deal to) end the blockade and a guarantee that Gaza’s demands and needs will be met.” Though no time was given for the start of the ceasefire, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas is expected to provide further details in a speech from the West Bank at 1600 GMT.
Also, the Independent reports that Egyptian officials are expected to release a full statement outlining the scope of the truce later on Tuesday afternoon.
Israeli officials have yet to comment on the reported agreement.
The alleged truce comes hours after Israeli shelling toppled two high-rise buildings in Gaza City. According to the latest update by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA) in Palestine, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians stands at 2,076, with an estimated 70 percent believed to be civilians, including 491 children and 253 women.
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