Israel accepts calm deal with Hamas
Israel has agreed to an Egyptian brokered calm deal with Hamas, starting at 6 a.m. (0300 GMT) on Thursday morning, an Israeli Defence official said on Wednesday. Egypt and Hamas announced the deal on Tuesday but Israel held off on confirming its agreement. Israeli Defence official, Amos Gilad, returned to Israel from overnight consultations in Egypt where he put the final touches to the deal.
"This is not a peace agreement. There is an understanding that is based on the effectiveness of military activities until now, and the will to stop it. At this point, we are exhausting the possibilities," Gilad told Israel radio.
According to Reuters, Hamas official in Gaza Sami Abu Zuhri said the deal now "means that we have ... a binding agreement for both sides, the Palestinian and the Israeli." "We in Hamas stress our full commitment to the agreement and the ball now is on the Israeli court to translate this agreement into actions on the ground," Abu Zuhri stressed.
Senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said on Tuesday that his movement believed the ceasefire would hold and would prove beneficial to the residents of the Strip.
On his part, the Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal said the calm commits Israel to ending its blockade of the Gaza Strip but any Israeli violation of the deal would not go unanswered. "If you go back, we go back. The resistance factions are not in a weak position, they are in a strong position... We are a people with a cause and we will not be broken by aggression or invasion," Meshaal told Reuters. "We will deal with the position on the ground as necessary."