Israel and Gaza should see about three days of peace beginning at 5 p.m. eastern time tonight, since the two sides have agreed to a 72-hour cease-fire brokered by Egypt. The last temporary truce ended last week, when Hamas militants rejected Israel’s offer to extend it past the agreed time frame and resumed rocket fire.
Various militant factions in Gaza accepted the proposal Sunday morning, followed by a formal acceptance from Israel this afternoon. Earlier, Israeli officials had indicated that they would not resume cease-fire negotiations unless rocket fire from Gaza stopped. Before the agreement, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel would “not negotiate under fire.”
In a statement, Egypt’s Foreign Ministry encouraged “both sides to exploit this truce to resume indirect negotiations immediately and work towards a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire agreement.”
Palestinian leaders say that they demand a lifting of the blockade on Gaza for any long-term truce. Israel, on the other hand, worries that lifting the blockade will allow Hamas to obtain more weapons and building materials to continue fighting.
More than 1,800 Palestinians and 67 Israelis have died since the start of the conflict, which still has no clear resolution. Among the many roadblocks to a lasting truce is the fact that Israel and the United States do not negotiate directly with Hamas, the elected party in Gaza, which they consider a terrorist organization. All negotiations go through mediators in Cairo.