: Hostilities resume after brief ‘humanitarian pause’ in Gaza
Following several hours early on Thursday of an agreed cessation of violence, a report of rocket fire from Gaza seemed to indicate the temporary cease-fire between Israel and factions within the occupied Gaza Strip was over.
Amidst the updates surrounding the ongoing conflict Thursday, new reports of a more long-term cease fire agreement swirled with conflicting perspectives on the parameters of such a deal or how close any of the parties were to an agreement.
In an exclusive, the Electronic Intifada website released what its say are the five conditions set by Hamas for a full cease-fire. Translated by the site’s editors from the original Arabic, the conditions are as follows:
Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, however, has dismissed reports of a new truce agreement and characterized reports of a deal as “far from reflecting reality.”
And Ma’an reports from Gaza that a Hamas official there has “denied a ceasefire deal with Israel has been reached, rejecting claims from an Israeli official that they had agreed to halt fire early Friday.”
“The news about a ceasefire is incorrect. There are continuing efforts but no agreement until now,” Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP on Thursday.
Meanwhile, The Guardian reports on a stash of weapons discovered by the United Nations in one of its school inside the Gaza Strip:
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A momentary “pause” in hostilities was underway in the Gaza Strip on Thursday morning as a six-hour cease fire requested by the United Nations allowed Palestinians a brief window to move about freely and gather much-needed supplies after more than nine days of heavy bombardment by Israeli forces.
Valerie Amos, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), welcomed the commitment on both sides for the temporary respite but urged both sides to quickly find a more lasting settlement.
“This is the third major military confrontation in Gaza in six years,” said Amos, “and civilians have borne the brunt each time. They are paying the price for a collective failure to break the cycle of violence and reach a lasting political solution.”
The pause in fighting comes a day after four Palestinian children were killed by Israeli shelling on a beach in Gaza City, bringing the number of Palestinians killed to at least 225 people, with more than 1,500 wounded. On the Israeli side, one man was killed on Tuesday as he visited troops near the border after being struck by shrapnel from a rocket launched from Gaza.
Thursday morning was not without incident, as some rocket fire towards Israel from the Gaza Strip was reported as well as renewed shelling by Israeli tanks and at least one airstrike said to be in response to Palestinian fighters moving through a tunnel near the border.
According to Reuters:
Despite the welcome reduction of violence, fears continue to loom that what lies ahead is a larger-scale military operation by Israeli forces, including a ground operation. Numerous, though often ‘unnamed,’ Israeli officials have suggested that a land invasion is “likely” despite warnings from the United Nations and humanitarian aid organizations that such an assault would lead to even more Palestinian civilian casualties.
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