Tara Todras-Whitehill/AP
An Israeli soldier rests on top of a tank at an army base near the Israel-Gaza
border, southern Israel. (AP)

Israel, Hamas Reach Truce; Insiders Debate Deal’s Wisdom, Durability

June 17, 2008 09:41 PM
by Anne Szustek
Israel and Hamas are agreed to a six-month ceasefire along the Israel-Gaza border, set to take effect at 6 a.m. local time Thursday.

30-Second Summary

The laying down of arms marks the beginning of a first stage of peace deal. In addition to the end of military skirmishes, Gaza’s borders are to be partially reopened, starting Friday morning, said Palestinian and Egyptian officials. Commercial traffic is to start flowing across the border next week.

The second stage of the deal involves Gaza’s return of detained Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, as well as an agreement to open the Egypt-Gaza border crossing at Rafah.

Egypt has been negotiating a peace agreement between Israel and Hamas for months. Blockades over the border resulted in the stunting of humanitarian missions, blackouts, and an outpouring of Gazans into Egypt looking for staple items.

Ahmed Yousef, a Hamas official, told the BBC, “I am confident that everybody will abide by what we’ve agreed. All the groups which went to Cairo gave their okay to the ceasefire.”

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak showed restrained optimism for the deal, stressing, “it is important to make all possible efforts to take advantage of the possibility of calm and to promote the return of peace to Gaza area communities like Ashkelon and Sderot.”

Other members of Israel’s political corps were not as sanguine. Vice Premier Haim Ramon said the truce is tantamount to “a victory for radical Islam,” and the National Union/National Religious Party’s MK Arye Eldad said that “because of a corrupt prime minister and an insecure defense minister, Israel is capitulating to Hamas.”

Headline Link: ‘Israel and Hamas “Agree Truce”’

Background: Recent Hamas developments

Reactions: ‘Barak: It is too Early to Declare Calm in Gaza’

Key Players: Hamas, Ehud Olmert

Ehud Olmert (1945–)

Opinion & Analysis: Long-term viability of the truce

Reference: Gaza Strip


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