Saturday, November 25, 2006

Gaza Cease-fire Agreement Reached

It was reported earlier this week that the Palestinians had offered Israel a truce in order to stop the increasing violence in the Gaza strip. On Saturday, it was announced that the Palestinians and Israelis have reached an agreement.

"Abbas asked in response that Israel stop all military operations in the
Gaza Strip and withdraw all the forces," she said. "The prime minister ... told Abbas that Israel would respond favourably, as Israel was operating in the Gaza Strip in response to the violence. With the end of violence, Israel would be happy to withdraw its troops."

Earlier in the week, Israel threatened to step up the military offensive it began in Gaza in June after militants who tunneled across the border abducted an Israeli soldier, who is still being held.
More than 400 Palestinians, about half of them militants, have been killed in Israeli strikes over the six months, Palestinian hospital officials say. Three Israelis also have been killed.

"(Olmert) expressed his hope that the end of violence would bring stability to both sides," Eisin said.

It's going to take a lot more than a cease-fire to address all of the concerns in the region but at least if they stop killing each other, that's a good first step.

The head of Hamas' political wing says he'll give negotiations six months to see if any progress can be made.

"We give six months to open real political horizons ... we agreed on the national accord to establish a Palestinian state, with the June 4, 1967 borders," he said, during talks in Cairo. "They have to seize this opportunity."

Meshal warned that if an agreement is not reached within that time, "Hamas will become stronger and the resistance will resume ... and will go on with a third uprising."


The deputy head of the Hamas political bureau, Musa Abu Marzuk, said over the weekend that Israel had agreed to an exchange of prisoners for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Abu Marzuk, based in Damascus, also said that based on talks Hamas political head Khaled Meshal had held in Cairo, it appeared Israel had agreed to release prisoners simultaneously with the release of Shalit, which it had opposed in the past. "This is definitely encouraging," he said.

The cease-fire goes into effect Sunday morning at 6 am.

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