Israel, Palestine agree on long-term Gaza ceasefire to end 50-day war
JERUSALEM: Israel and the Palestine on Tuesday agreed
on a long-term Egyptian-brokered ceasefire to end the devastating 50-day war in
the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip that has killed over 2,200 people.
“An agreement has been reached between the two sides
and we are awaiting the announcement from Cairo to determine the zero hour for
implementation,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. He said Egypt was
expected to make an official announcement on the deal.
Cairo’s initiative, Palestinian officials said, called
for an indefinite halt to seven weeks of hostilities, the immediate opening of
Gaza’s blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt and a widening of the enclave’s
fishing zone in the Mediterranean, the Jerusalem Post reported.
Under a second stage that would begin a month later,
Israel and the Palestinians would discuss the construction of a Gaza sea port
and an Israeli release of Hamas prisoners in the West Bank, the officials said.
A senior Palestinian official also confirmed that the
Palestinians have reached an agreement with Israel on a permanent truce in
Gaza. There was no immediate comment from Israel on the claimed deal to end the
deadly conflict in and around the enclave.
The Palestinian official gave no time for when a
ceasefire would take effect but said President Mahmud Abbas would give further
details in a speech from his West Bank headquarters at 1600 GMT (2130 IST).
“The contacts that have been going on have led to a
permanent ceasefire, a (deal to) end the blockade and a guarantee that Gaza’s
demands and needs will be met,” the official said speaking on condition of
The Islamist Hamas movement, de facto ruler of Gaza
and party to the Abbas-led efforts to agree a truce, also said a deal had been
struck with Israel. “The negotiations ended with an agreement which embodies
the resistance of our people and a victory for the resistance,” its exiled
deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzuk wrote on his Facebook page.
The Palestinian official said the truce deal had been
finalised after 48 hours of intensive shuttle diplomacy by Azzam al-Ahmed, head
of the Palestinian delegation to the protracted, on-off truce talks in Cairo.
“Over the past 48 hours, he has been shuttling between
the leadership of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, all the factions, and Egyptian leaders,
travelling between Ramallah, Gaza, Doha and overseas,” the official said.
Israel launched ‘Operation Protective Edge’ on July 8
aiming to end rocket attacks by Gaza-based Hamas militants and since then the
fighting has killed 2,137 Palestinians and 68 Israelis.