Friday ceasefire in Middle East appears to be holding

By AT editor - 21 May 2021 at 9:02 pm
Friday ceasefire in Middle East appears to be holding

A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza appeared to be holding on Friday, after diplomats from Egypt, the United States and other nations were able to broker a deal that went into effect in the early morning hours.

The uneasy truce came after some 3,400 rockets fired from Gaza landed in Israeli territory, while about 1,500 targets where hit by the Israel Defense Forces, according to the IDF. At least 243 Palestinians died in the process, with roughly a dozen Israeli fatalities during the 11 days of fighting.

Both sides claimed to have made gains in the ongoing battles over the Mideast, though with decades of cyclical episodes of fighting many analysts were left to question where any peace process goes next and what, if anything, had been achieved.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi said he was in touch with United States President Joe Biden and thanked him for supporting the Egyptian ceasefire initiative. The Egyptian president said he hoped for future diplomatic success in creating a just and comprehensive peace in the region.

Speaking on Thursday, Biden said he had spoken multiple times to Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, and welcomed Israel’s decision to end the hostilities.

“I also emphasized what I have said throughout this conflict: The United States fully supports Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks from Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups that have taken the lives of innocent civilians in Israel,” Biden said.

He also stressed the U.S. would work with the Palestinian Authority to support aid to Gaza while limiting Hamas access to weapons or its legitimacy.

“I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity, and democracy,” Biden said.


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