On Friday (May 21), the State of Israel and terrorist outfit Hamas mutually agreed upon a ceasefire along the Gaza strip after 11 days of continuous fighting. As per reports, the ceasefire agreement was mediated by Egypt.
Amidst the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed that his Security Cabinet voted unanimously for a ‘mutual and unconditional’ truce. It, however, said that the time of implementation of the ceasefire was yet to be decided. The ceasefire was proposed by Egypt, which said that the Gaza truce would commence from 2 am on Friday (UK time).
While taking to Twitter, President Joe Biden wrote, “Prime Minister Netanyahu informed me that Israel has agreed to a mutual, unconditional ceasefire. The Egyptians have now informed us that Hamas and the other groups in Gaza have also agreed.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu informed me that Israel has agreed to a mutual, unconditional ceasefire. The Egyptians have now informed us that Hamas and the other groups in Gaza have also agreed.
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 20, 2021
He further added, “These hostilities have resulted in the tragic deaths of so many civilians, including children. I send my sincere condolences to all the families, Israeli and Palestinian, of those who lost loved ones and my hope for a full recovery for the wounded…I believe that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live in safety and security and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy. My administration will continue our quiet and relentless diplomacy toward that end.”
I believe that Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live in safety and security and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy.
My Administration will continue our quiet and relentless diplomacy toward that end. pic.twitter.com/mXe39TyVMz
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 20, 2021
Several countries such as Qatar, Egypt, United States, and the United Nations have proposed to mediate to bring an end to the ongoing escalation between the two sides. The US has vowed to replenish the Iron Dome interceptors of Israel that helped protect the Jewish State from the barrage of incoming rocket fires from the Gaza strip by Hamas. Both sides have been claiming the ‘ceasefire’ as a victory.
Reaction of Palestinians and Hamas terror outfit
Despite this, the fighting continued between Hamas and Israel in the runup to the proposed truce. Reportedly, sirens cautioned of incoming rocket fire from the Gaza strip to Israel. A 50-year-old man sustained minor injuries when a Hamas rocket dropped on an Israeli factory. In retaliation, Reuters reported that Israel conducted an air strike in Gaza. After the truce came into effect, Palestinians hit the streets in jubilation and yelled, “Allah hu Akbar.”
Some even whistled from their balconies. Several men even fired rifles, burnt firecrackers, jammed the roads, honked the horns of cars, and eaved flags from the window. Mosques claimed over loudspeakers that the truce signified the supposed victory of ‘resistance’ against Israel during the battle of ‘Sword of Jerusalem.’ A Palestinian welding an Ak-47 warned, “Our fingers are on the triggers, and we are ready to fight again, but now we will celebrate with our people.”
Meanwhile, Taher Al-Nono, who serves as the media advisor of Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, said, “The Palestinian resistance will abide by this agreement as long as the Occupation (Israel) does the same. Hamas spokesperson Abu Ubaida however added, “With the help of God, we were able to humiliate the enemy, its fragile entity, and its savage army.” He warned of rocket attacks if Israel was to commit ceasefire violations in Gaza. The biggest challenge for Hamas now is to rebuild its influence in the Gaza strip, destroyed by airstrikes by Israel in retaliation to its attacks.
Israel’s stand on the current truce with Hamas
In a statement released by the Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Twitter, he said, “I would like to strengthen the security forces and the IDF, led by the Chief of Staff, who have achieved unprecedented military achievements in the last 11 days in their strength, accuracy and strategic significance in the fight against terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.”
He added, “The defense establishment continues its readiness to protect Israeli citizens and the security forces and the IDF are deployed in the field, in all formations, in various sectors, in defense, and in the attack. The reality on the ground will determine the continuation of operations.” Gantz also spoke to US US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. He thanked the US administration for its support and said that the Israeli Defense Forces will continue to work with Pentagon and the US government in mutual pursuit of stability in the region.
The Israel-Palestine crisis
The hostilities between the Jewish nation and its nemesis Hamas are at an all-time high, especially after the intense aerial exchanges that started on the evening of May 11 and continued well past midnight. On May 11, Palestinian terrorist organisation Hamas unleashed massive airstrikes against Israel, firing hundreds of rockets inside the country.
The country’s air defence system known as the Iron Dome, intercepted the continuous barrage of rockets targeting Tel Aviv and central Israel Tuesday evening. Israel, in response, stepped up its attacks on the Palestinian terror group Hamas inside Gaza Strip. The Israel Defence Forces carried out airstrikes on targets in Gaza in response to continued attacks by Hamas against Israel. The death toll in the Gaza strip has risen to 230 by May 21 while 12 casaulties were reported on the Israeli side. At the same time, 20 high-profile terrorists associated with Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad have been neutralised.
While debunking the anti-Israeli propaganda, Israel Defence Forces remarked, “The fact that there aren’t more casualties in Israel does not mean that Hamas isn’t trying to kill Israeli civilians. It simply means that the IDF is preventing them from doing so at an incredible level. The Iron Dome Aerial Defense System and easily accessible bomb shelters all over Israel have saved thousands of lives.” It concluded, “IDF troops will continue to work 24/7 to defend Israeli civilians at the highest level possible and minimize Gazan casualties wherever possible.”