According to the AP report, Israel would cease all military activity against the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip and Palestinian terrorists would cease rocket attacks into Israel. After 24 hours of quiet, Gaza's border crossings with Israel would be opened further to allow freer movement of goods and people.
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Egypt would be the guarantor of the deal, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
An Egyptian source close to truce talks told Reuters on Wednesday that the ceasefire deal included an end to "assassinations" and "incursions" on Israel's part.
Clinton with Egyptian foreign minister (Photo: AP)
About an hour later, Izzat Al-Rishak, a member of Hamas' political bureau, posted the details of the understandings between Israel and the Palestinian organizations on his Facebook page:
- Israel will cease all its activities against the Gaza Strip in the sea, land and air, including the incursions and assassinations.
- The Palestinian organizations will cease their activity from Gaza against Israel, including the rocket fire and border attacks.
- The border crossings to Gaza will be opened, facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods. This move will take effect after a 24-hour cooling-off period.
- Additional issues will be negotiated if necessary.
At the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, it appears each side has scored several achievements. Israel dealt Hamas a serious military blow: It assassinated the organization's military chief, Ahmed Jabari, bombed more than 1,000 targets, seriously damaged terror organizations' infrastructure, and killed many terror activists, including members of rocket launching cells.
At the start of the operation, Israel immediately destroyed most of the terror organizations' long-range missiles, limiting the number of missiles fired at the Tel Aviv metropolitan area. In addition, the naval blockade on Gaza, aimed at preventing the smuggling of weapons into the Strip, will not be lifted.
Hamas' achievements include firing more than 1,500 missiles at Israel, including into cities it hadn't reached before – Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Rishon Lezion. In addition, Hamas is still on its feet at the end of the fighting. The organization has also received a certain amount of international legitimacy due to the fact that it was a party to negotiations – through Egypt.
Smoke billowing over Gaza (Photo: AFP)
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced that a ceasefire had been reached to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians in a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The details of the agreement were not revealed.
"These efforts ... have resulted in understandings to cease fire and restore calm and halt the bloodshed that the last period has seen," Amr said.
Clinton said the ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza had come at a crucial time for countries of the Middle East.
"This is a critical moment for the region. Egypt's new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone for regional stability and peace," she said at the joint news conference with her Egyptian counterpart.
She also thanked Egypt's Islamist President Mohammed Morsi for his mediation efforts and pledged to work with partners in the region "to consolidate this progress, improve conditions for the people of Gaza, provide security for the people of Israel."
Earlier, at the end of meeting convened by the government' top nine ministers led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, state officials said that Israel was interested in achieving international support that would guarantee the IDF freedom of action in case the lull is violated and rockets are launched from Gaza.
State officials added that as part of the understandings, both sides will hold fire and that a ceasefire would be obtained within several hours.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: email@example.com