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Hamas and Israel have agreed to a ceasefire after 11 days of cross-border fighting, missile bombardment, and hundreds dead. The truce was brokered by Egypt and will begin Friday, May 21, 2021, at 2 a.m. (UTC +3), according to a statement released by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office.
The PM’s office said the Chief of Staff, head of the Shin Bet, Head of Mossad, and the National Security Council approved the bilateral ceasefire on Thursday, May 20. The decision was unanimous and the ceasefire without preconditions. Their vote came on the heels of international pressure to de-escalate with a plan for a total ceasefire.
PM Netanyahu spoke with U.S. President Joe Biden, who insisted on de-escalation on Wednesday. The PM brushed off Biden and met with Ambassadors and Diplomats to explain the country has the right to defend itself against its enemies.
Biden reached out for the third time in four days to insist on an immediate and “significant de-escalation.” CNN’s sources say the president had become increasingly impatient with the Netanyahu
Benny Gantz, the Israeli Defense Minister, indicated he was satisfied since the country “had achieved its goal of drastically degrading the militants’ military capabilities.”
He spoke about the Palestinian militant group, Ḥarakat al-Muqāwamah al-Islāmiyyah (Hamas), or in English, the Islamic Resistance Movement. CNN reports a senior Hamas leader confirmed their participation with the Egyptian brokered ceasefire.
On May 19, reports indicate Israel says they released more than 3,400 missiles into Palestine, striking cities and towns. The Hama-run health ministry reports at least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, were killed in the airstrikes.
According to the IDF and the country’s emergency service, at least 12 Israelis died, two of them were children, from Hamas gunfire. Overall, more than 4,000 rockets were fired into Israel, most of which were deterred by the country’s anti-missile dome.
The statement released from Netanyahu about the ceasefire made it clear that the Israeli Defense Force will re-start its efforts against militants in Gaza if those groups fail to keep up their end of the truce.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Los Angeles Times: Under growing pressure, Israeli Cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas, by Hana Salah, Dina Kraft, and Nabih Bulos
CNN: Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas agree to a ceasefire; by Amir Tal and Andrew Carey
CNBC: Netanyahu determined to carry on with Gaza military offensive despite pressure for cease-fire; by Natasha Turak
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