Truce agreement calls for Gaza militants to stop attacks on southern
Israel and for Israel to stop military raids and air strikes in Gaza. Robert Berger reports from the VOA bureau in
After months of fighting, Israel and the Islamic
militant group Hamas have decided to give an Egyptian-mediated
ceasefire in Gaza a chance.
When the truce begins early
Thursday, Hamas will halt rocket and mortar attacks and Israel will end
military action in Gaza. Then Israel will begin gradually lifting its
crippling blockade on Gaza. On Sunday, Israel will open border
crossings and allow in trucks packed with food and supplies.
has decided to accept the Egyptian proposals and it is our sincere hope
that from tomorrow, our civilian population in the south will no longer
be the victim of these barrages of rockets and mortar shells from
terrorists in the Gaza Strip, and we will have a new period of peace
and quiet," Israeli spokesman Mark Regev said.
In Gaza, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said all Palestinian factions have agreed to abide by the truce.
Haniyeh said the ceasefire would help the Palestinian people who have suffered from the Israeli blockade.
the second phase of the truce, Israel hopes to win the release of a
soldier captured by Hamas militants in a cross-border raid two years
ago. The sticking point is what Hamas wants in return: freedom for
hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, including those responsible for
deadly suicide bombings.
Hamas refuses to renounce violence or
recognize the Jewish state, so Israel fears the group will use the
truce to re-arm for the next round of conflict. But as Israeli Cabinet
Benjamin Ben Eliezer put it.
"I would talk to the devil to bring peace and quiet," he said, and to win the release of the captive soldier.