Report: Israel and Hamas agree on cease-fire deal

Egyptian official says formal announcement of truce to be made shortly following Morsi, Clinton meeting in Cairo; sources say Israel will not lift Gaza blockade; IAF strikes, rocket fire continue amid cease-fire push.

November 21, 2012 19:12
2 minute read.
Clinton and Egypt's President Morsi

Morsi and Clinton 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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Israel and Palestinian groups have agreed to a truce to end the Gaza conflict, an Egyptian official told Reuters on Wednesday.

Asked whether a cease-fire deal had been reached, the official said: "Yes, and Egypt will announce it."

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There was no immediate official confirmation of the news, which came on the eighth day of intensive Israeli fire on the Gaza Strip and rocket attacks out of the Palestinian territory.

According to Israeli sources, Israel has agreed to a truce in the Gaza Strip, but will not lift its blockade of the Palestinian territory, declining to give further details of any deal.

Shortly before, a Palestinian official with knowledge of Egyptian mediation between the two sides told Reuters that there was a ceasefire agreement to end eight days of fighting in Gaza that has killed more than 140 Palestinians and five Israelis.

Israel's Channel 2 television said a ceasefire would be announced in Cairo later in the evening by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

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The cease-fire reports followed Israel’s diplomatic and security cabinet meeting on Wednesday discussing the latest cease-fire initiatives with Hamas, as international leaders continued to press for an end to the hostilities in Gaza.

The London-based Al Hayat newspaper, citing Hamas and Islamic Jihad, said Israel wanted a 90-day period to determine "good intentions" of the movement before discussing Gazan demands.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told Clinton he wanted a "long-term" solution. Failing that, Netanyahu made clear, that he stood ready to step up the military campaign to silence Hamas's rockets.

"A band-aid solution will only cause another round of violence," said Ofir Gendelman, a Netanyahu spokesman.

As the inner cabinet met to discuss a possible truce, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said on Wednesday there were "many details to work out" before a ceasefire could be reached to end the conflict between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

"I am particularly concerned about the spiral of violence at the time of intense efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel," Ban said.

Amid continuing airstrikes in the Gaza Strip, killing eight Palestinians in 24 hours, and rocket fire from Gaza into Israel, injuring at least five, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton flew to Cairo to see Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on Wednesday, spoke of a deal "in the days ahead."

Speaking after a meeting with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, whose country is trying to forge a truce, he said: "We all know there are many details to work out. But while that happens civilians continue to die."

Egypt, Clinton said, has the responsibility and the opportunity to play a crucial and constructive role in restoring calm.

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