Home Middle East After 11 Days, Israel and Hamas Agree to a Ceasefire

After 11 Days, Israel and Hamas Agree to a Ceasefire

 Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire after continuous tensions and violence for more than 11 days. The ceasefire began early on May 21. Israeli Security Cabinet announced that it had agreed to end hostilities and maintain truce. 

Israel has agreed to the ceasefire without any-pre conditions. A Hamas official is reported to have informed Reuters and some other media organisations that Hamas has agreed to a ceasefire. The truce was brokered by Egypt. On May 19, France, Egypt, and Jordan had submitted a proposal to the United Nations Security Council calling for ceasefire.

“The Security Cabinet, this evening, unanimously accepted the recommendation of all of the security officials, the IDF Chief-of-Staff, the head of the ISA, the head of the Mossad and the head of the National Security Council to accept the Egyptian initiative for a mutual ceasefire without pre-conditions, to take effect at a time to be determined,” read the statement released by Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.

With both sides claiming “victory”, an estimated 240 or more people have lost their lives during the conflict. After the ceasefire started, the people in Gaza ventured out to the streets and celebrated.

The recent conflict between Israel and Palestine started on May 10. Before the violence broke out, tensions between Israel and Palestine were increasing due to a verdict by Israeli court, ordering a few families in Sheikh Jarrah to vacate their homes. Situations in East Jerusalem, Gaza, and West Bank, where tension is always high, staterted simmerring. Plaestenians started to protest against the eviction order on May 6  and the protests quickly turned into violent clashes between Israeli and Palestenian people. Israeli Police then stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque in East Jerusalem, considered third holiest site in Islam.  As the tensions escalated, Hamas gave warning to the Israeli authorities to withdraw from Sheikh Jarrah. Hamas is an extremist military organisation which is dominant in Gaza. On May 10, Hamas and Palestenian Islamic Jihad began firing rockets towards Israel. The videos of Israel’s “Iron Dome” intercepting rockets mid air went viral on social media. Israel retaliated with heavy airstrikes and also supplemented the airstrikes with ground forces after a few days. Protests and violence also spread to the West Bank and other sensitive areas.

According to the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), Hamas and Palestenian militants fired more than 4000 rockets towards Israel. Most of these were intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome and some reportedly fell into Gaza itself.

Many international leaders and observers had expressed concerns over the relentless bombarding and violence in Gaza. The US President Joe Biden held multiple calls with Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netnyahu in the last few days. The US president Joe Biden has spoken with Mr Netnyahu six times in the past few days.

In a press briefing at White House Mr Biden said, “Prime Minister Netanyahu informed me that Israel has agreed to a mutual, unconditional ceasefire to begin in less than two hours.  The Egyptians have now informed us that Hamas and the other groups in Gaza have also agreed.”

During the press briefing, he reiterated that the US “fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups.”

Mr Biden also announced that the US will work with the United Nations and other international stakeholders “to provide rapid humanitarian assistance” and “to marshal international support”

for the reconstruction efforts in Gaza.

He further added that the US will work with “Palestinian Authority “ and not Hamas to make sure that Hamas to does not restock its military arsenal.