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Tue August 26, 2014
Hamas, Israel Reach Long-Term Cease-Fire Deal
Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 1:29 pm
(This post was last updated at 12:47 p.m. ET.)
After seven weeks of intense fighting that's killed more than 2,000 people, Hamas and Israel have announced a long-term cease-fire deal.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made the announcement in Ramallah on Tuesday, saying both sides will return to the negotiating table to deal with other demands. Abbas suggested he wanted an outcome that ends the cycle of war in the region.
The exact terms of the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire are still unclear, but Abbas said the fighting was supposed to stop at noon Eastern time. In Gaza, television images showed Palestinians taking to the streets in celebration. They threw confetti and held up their fingers, declaring a victory. Many could be seen waving the green Hamas flag; a few others waved the Palestinian Authority flag.
The BBC reports Palestinian negotiators said "Israel had agreed to ease its blockade of Gaza to allow in aid supplies and building materials."
Haaretz reports that the terms do not include "a seaport, an airport" nor "the release of prisoners."
NPR's Emily Harris reports that a senior Israeli official says the big difference between this cease-fire and others is that this one is open-ended.
The official said if the cease-fire is respected, Israel will reconsider its blockade. Broader peace talks, the official said, will restart "pretty quickly" in Cairo. Once there, an Israeli delegation will talk about demilitarizing Gaza.
It's important to remember that other cease-fire deals have quickly dissipated. In fact, minutes after the cease-fire was supposed to begin, Al Jazeera reported that rocket alarms were still sounding in Israel.
Update at 12:02 p.m. ET. Israel Reportedly Accepts Cease-fire:
Citing a senior Israeli official, Haaretz reports that Israel has accepted an Egyptian deal for an "unlimited cease-fire."
"The senior official said the cease-fire proposal does not include Hamas' demands for a seaport, an airport, the release of prisoners or regarding the issue of funds," Haaretz reports. "In future negotiations, said the official, both sides will present their demands, and Israel will raise the issue of demilitarizing the Gaza Strip. Israel will allow humanitarian aid to enter the Strip, including materials for reconstruction. According to the official, the aid will enter the Strip under supervision."
What's still unclear is whether Israel is easing its blockade of Gaza.
Update at 11:54 a.m. Cease-fire Is A 'Victory':
During a televised press conference, Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri called the cease-fire a "victory."
"We have achieved most of our goals and targets," Zuhri said.
Update at 11:41 a.m. ET. Cease-fire To Begin At Noon:
Quoting Egypt's state news agency MENA, Reuters reports that the cease-fire will go into effect at noon Eastern — at the same time Abbas is scheduled to speak. We'll monitor his comments and update this post with the latest.