Israel, Gaza Ceasefire Reached after Week of Israeli Terror
Update 2:23 pm est:
The Israel/Gaza ceasefire has officially commenced. There have been no explosions since the official ceasefire starting point at 9 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT), but low flying drones can still be heard flying overhead in Gaza.
Agence France-Presse has published the text of the ceasefire agreement:
Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.
All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.
Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents' free movements and targeting residents in border areas. Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.
Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.
Setting up the zero hour understanding to enter into effect.
Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.
Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt as a sponsor of this understanding, shall be informed to follow up.
Breaking 12:45 pm est:
Egypt announced a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in a bid to end the week of fighting between the two, which has resulted in the death of of 140 Palestinians and untold casualties and damage to the heavily populated Gaza strip.
Foreign Minister Mohammed Kamel Amr said the truce would take effect at 9 p.m. local time (2 p.m. EDT.)
The announcement was made with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper said an emerging outline of a cease-fire agreement called for a 72-hour truce and further talks for long-term agreements, including a promise to examine ways to ease its blockade of Gaza.
However, Israeli sources told Reuters that although Israel had agreed to a truce, it would not lift its blockade of the Palestinian territory. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is expected to make an announcement within the hour.
Day 8: No Deal Made Yet as Israeli Airstrikes Continue to Terrorize Gaza Residents
Israeli airstrikes continued to terrorize Gaza residents Tuesday night into Wednesday afternoon, adding to the death toll in the heavily populated occupied territory, which climbed past 140 people -- a large percentage civilians and children.
Steering clear of Gaza, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton maneuvered between Jerusalem and the West Bank in negotiations with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday night and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank on Wednesday morning and was due to travel to Cairo later Wednesday, as Egypt is attempting to broker the peace deal.
Meanwhile, Israeli ground troops continued to multiply on the Gaza border awaiting a possible order to invade.
Israel continued to target media sites overnight, including two strikes on a media building and home to major news agency Agence France-Presse, the third and forth strike on a media building in three days. One child who was in a damaged residence behind the media building was killed in the strike.
"I was in the office with a fixer and suddenly we heard an explosion," said Mahmud Hams, an AFP photographer, adding that the explosion shook the building. "About five minutes passed and then we heard two more loud explosions that also shook the building." The crew ran out as smoke and fire filled the upper floors.
On Wednesday morning, a bomb exploded in an Israeli bus near the nation's military headquarters in Tel Aviv, wounding 10 people.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack; however, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum told The Associated Press, "We consider it a natural response to the occupation crimes and the ongoing massacres against civilians in the Gaza Strip."
The White House, which has been largely silent on the number of child and civilian deaths in Gaza, said the largely ineffective Tel Aviv bus explosion was "outrageous," as Clinton expressed "rock solid" support for Israel.
Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of "ethnic cleansing" in Gaza, clarifying that Israeli attacks can not be considered self-defense.
"Israel is committing ethnic cleansing by ignoring peace in this region and violating international law," Erdogan said. "It is occupying the Palestinian territory step by step."
Erdogan added that Western countries were guilty of aiding the "terrorist state" by condoning Israel's violence.
Shortly after the bus explosion in Tel Aviv, Israeli planes strikes escalated, launching heavy shelling against many districts in Gaza.
"F16s even attacked the public library. A 13-year-boy was killed in the bombardment," resident Issam Fouad told the Guardian.
Israeli war jets "pummeled Gaza’s Al-Yarmouk football stadium" with over 10 consecutive attacks, RT reports.
The Israeli military has struck at least 1,450 targets in Gaza since attacks began last Wednesday.