Considering the events of past “truces” (Hamas uses them to bring in more rockets during the lull in IDF raids) I am skeptical, but hopeful.
Pact due to begin Thursday; 5 militants also killed in Gaza airstrike
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Gaza’s Hamas rulers on Tuesday said they have reached a long-awaited cease-fire with Israel meant to end months of Palestinian assaults on Israeli border towns and bruising Israeli retaliation.
The announcement came shortly after Egypt, which has been trying to broker the truce for months, said the cease-fire would go into effect on Thursday. Israel refused to confirm a deal, but said a “new reality” would take hold if Palestinian attacks end.
In a last-minute jolt, Israeli aircraft attacked three targets in the southern Gaza Strip. One of the airstrikes destroyed a car, killing the five militants inside. A large crowd gathered around the car’s smoldering remains, and a puddle of blood was visible on the asphalt.
Hamas officials accused Israel of trying to undermine the truce, but said they would not let the violence derail the Egyptian efforts.
“We are going to commit ourselves to the start time that Egypt is going to declare regarding the calm,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri. However, the group’s television station said the movement would respond to “any Zionist aggression,” underscoring the delicate situation.
Egypt’s powerful intelligence chief, Omar Suleiman, has been meeting separately with Israeli and Hamas officials for months in hopes of brokering a truce.
Israel has been seeking a halt to rocket attacks launched from Gaza nearly every day, an end to Hamas’ weapons buildup, and the release of an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for two years.
Hamas, meanwhile, wants an end to Israel’s military activity in Gaza and the lifting of an Israeli blockade that has caused widespread destitution in the already impoverished coastal strip.
The state-run Egyptian news agency MENA cited an unidentified high-level Egyptian official as saying both sides “have agreed on the first phase” of an Egyptian-mediated package to end the violence in Gaza.
Read the rest on MSNBC.