Israel and Hamas have agreed to a ceasefire but little else after a mediation effort fell short of resolving the broader issues that led the two sides to their worst flare-up in almost four years. Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton give a statement Wednesday after their meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in the presidential palace in Cairo. (Khaled Desouki, AFP / Getty Images)
The deal, which went into effect Wednesday evening, obliges both sides to halt all acts of violence outright, following an eight-day war that killed at least 150 Palestinians and five Israelis, including many civilians.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr announced the truce at a short press conference in Cairo. Clinton had arrived in the region on Tuesday to press the two sides to end their fighting.
Both Israel and Hamas continued firing at each other until moments before the ceasefire went into effect—including a massive bombardment from Gaza into southern Israel. Earlier in the day, a bomb exploded on an Israeli bus in Tel Aviv, wounding more than 20 people.
Speaking on Israeli media, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel had achieved all of its goals in the offensive, including restoring its deterrence against Hamas.
“I said we would exact a heavy price from the terrorist organizations…We hit the terrorist organizations’ senior commanders. We destroyed thousands of rockets,” Netanyahu said.
He noted that Israel received unmitigated support from the United States and much of the international community during the campaign.
Hamas also claimed victory. Senior members of the group said rocket attacks on Israel’s biggest cities proved Hamas could inflict pain on the Jewish state.
The agreement was a relief for millions of civilians who suffered through bombardments on both side of the border over the past eight days.
Roughly 10 minutes after the ceasefire went into effect, Gaza City exploded in celebration. Mosques trumpeted a Hamas victory and calls of “God is great” boomed across the strip. People took to the darkened streets for the first time in weeks, honking horns and hooting. Celebratory gunfire and fireworks rippled across the city as people rejoiced.
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