Hamas, Israel both call for Gaza ceasfire to prevail

By Noha Al-Badry and Ahram Online, Thursday 22 Nov 2012

Cease-fire between Hamas and Israel in effect on Thursday in and around Gaza Strip, as both Hamas and Israel call for truce to last

Cease-fire goes into effect but
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh waves to people as they celebrate what they say is a victory over Israel after an eight-day conflict in Gaza City November 22, 2012 (Photo: Reuters)

As the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel took effect, with the international efforts of Egypt aided by the United States on Wednesday 21 November, both Israel and Hamas call for truce to last.

On Thursday, Defence Minister Ehud Barak spoke on public radio, warning Palestinians, as a whole, that Israel may resume its attacks on Gaza at any time if the ceasefire fails to hold.

The ceasefire "can last nine days, nine weeks, or more, but if it does not hold we will know what to do, and then of course we shall consider the possibility of resuming our [military] activity in case of shooting or provocation," he told public radio.

Barak justified the Israeli government's decision to call off a threatened large-scale ground invasion in the Gaza Strip, despite the mobilization of tens of thousands of reservists.

"Such an operation could have created a situation where we would have had to stay for years in the Gaza Strip. I don't miss Gaza, I'm sure Hamas does not feel nostalgia for what has been happening to it in recent days," Barak stated.

In 2008, soldiers launched a fierce 22 day campaign against the militants, killing more than 1,300 Palestinians. In 2005, after a 38 year occupation, Israel pulled its soldiers and settlers out of the Gaza Strip.

Barak also mentioned it would not be impossible to bring down Gaza's Hamas government without a complete Israeli re-occupation of the coastal territory. An idea of which he commented, "I'm not sure that would be the most intelligent thing to do."

He said that the truce arrangement was not a formal treaty between Israel and Hamas, with whom the Jewish state says it does not negotiate.

"It is not an agreement, it is an unsigned paper. That does not mean it is not worth anything, but it only reflects the arrangements concluded between us and the Egyptians on one side and between Hamas and Egypt on the other, as well as the limitations that both parties accepted," he said.

"The most important point concerns the commitment of all the Palestinian factions to cease all hostile activities against Israel, including firing rockets and attacks against the Israeli army along the border between Gaza and Israeli territory," Barak stated.

"If peace continues to prevail, there is no reason not to allow Palestinian farmers to cultivate their land up to the border fence," Barak finished.

Currently, the Israeli Army considers the fence and its immediate vicinity a live-fire zone off limits to Palestinians.

Hamas side

Hamas Prime Minister of the Gaza Strip Ismail Haniya delivered a speech in Gaza City on Thursday, calling for all Palestinians to respect the truce deal reached with Israel one day earlier.

"I salute the resistance factions who have respected the agreement since it entered into force, and I ask everyone to respect it and act accordingly," said Haniya.

Haniya also called on "the security services to follow up on the matter."

"We in the government bear the great responsibility of protecting our people and also protecting this agreement, which the occupation has committed to," he added.

In addition, Haniya and two other senior Hamas officials, Ahmed Bahar and Mohammed al-Hindi, expressed their "support for the national drive for observer status from the UN on 29 November."

Many hope the ceasefire will last and the aggression of the past week will not be repeated, at the same time, many doubt it will.

Here is the full text of the ceasefire agreement:

The terms of the ceasefire addressed were divided into two parts.

"Israel will stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip, land, sea, and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals."

"All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border."

"Opening crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents' free movements and targeting residents in border areas."

"Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire, and other matters as may be requested shall be addressed."

The second part, titled “Implementation mechanisms,” dealt with the technicalities of putting the ceasefire into effect.

"Setting up the zero hour for the ceasefire understanding to enter into effect."

"Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon."

"Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations Egypt as the sponsor of this understanding shall be informed to follow up."

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