Jerusalem - Hamas And Israel Agree To Ceasefire; Obama Commends Netanyahu
Last updated on: November 21, 2012 01:00 PM
Jerusalem - Egypt announced on Wednesday that a ceasefire had been reached to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, starting later in the day.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr made the announcement in a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The ceasefire would come into effect at 1900 GMT, Amr said.
“These efforts ... have resulted in understandings to cease fire and restore calm and halt the bloodshed that the last period has seen,” Amr said.
Israeli sources said Israel had agreed to a truce, but would not lift its blockade of the Palestinian territory, which is run by the Islamist Hamas movement.
All the sources declined to be named or to give further details of the arrangements hammered out in Cairo.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the deal, saying he had agreed after consulting with President Barack Obama to give a ceasefire with Hamas militants a chance, his office said in a statement.
“The president expressed his appreciation for the Prime Minister’s efforts to work with the new Egyptian government to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and a more durable solution to this problem,” a White House statement said.
Obama reiterated his commitment to Israel’s security and also said he was committed to seeking funds for joint missile defense programs.
Israel’s best-selling Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper had reported an emerging outline of a ceasefire agreement that called for Egypt to announce a 72-hour ceasefire followed by further talks on long-term understandings.
Under the proposed document, which the newspaper said neither party would be required to sign, Israel would hold its fire, end attacks against top militants.
Hamas, the report said, would pledge not to strike any Israeli target and ensure other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip also stop their attacks.
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