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Cease-fire takes hold in Gaza

BEIRUT | iloubnan.info, with agencies - August 27, 2014, 09h39
A Palestinian girl walking on a destroyed street in Gaza. Photo: UNICEF/Eyad El Baba
An open-ended ceasefire for Gaza was announced on Tuesday, brokered under Egyptian auspices.
According to Al Arabiya website, Palestinian and Egyptian officials said that the deal, which was mediated in Cairo and took effect on Tuesday evening, called for an indefinite halt to hostilities, the immediate opening of Gaza's blockaded crossings with Israel and Egypt and a widening of the territory's fishing zone in the Mediterranean.

The agreement was reached after seven weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas. The conflict left more than 2,101 dead in Gaza (mostly civilians) and killed more than 67 Israelis (mostly soldiers).

The violence also forced 475,000 Palestinians to seek refuge at UN facilities inside Gaza, the UN news center reported.

Hamas voiced willingness for the security forces of Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the unity government he formed in June to control the passage points, Al Arabiya reported.
The channel's website also mentioned that Israel said it would facilitate the flow of civilian goods and humanitarian and reconstruction aid into the impoverished territory if the "open-ended" ceasefire was honoured.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the announcement of the ceasefire. He said he hopes this will lead to a political process aimed at achieving a durable peace.

“A brighter future for Gaza and for Israel depends on a sustainable ceasefire. It is up to the parties to live up to this responsibility,” said a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

“After 50 days of profound human suffering and devastating physical destruction, any violations of the ceasefire would be utterly irresponsible,” the statement added.

Mr. Ban noted that any peace effort that does not tackle the root causes of the crisis will do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence, calling for, among others, an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza and addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns.

“The Secretary-General remains hopeful that the extended ceasefire will act as a prelude to a political process as the only way of achieving durable peace,” said the statement, which added that the two-State solution is the only viable option.

“The Secretary-General urgently calls on both parties to return to meaningful negotiations towards a final status agreement that addresses all core issues and ends the 47-year occupation.”
Tags
#gaza, #UN, #United_Nations, #Israel
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