Ceasefire in Gaza but Will It Hold?
A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was announced in Cairo on Wednesday and is scheduled to begin at 9:00 PM local time tonight.
The deal was announced at a press conference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Amr.
Israel has agreed to "stop all hostilities on the Gaza Strip, land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals", the ceasefire deal says.
"All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks, and attacks along the border," it stipulates.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamel Amr announced the ceasefire at a news conference in Cairo with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who joined negotiations on Wednesday.
A statement from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had agreed to a US suggestion "to give a chance to Egypt's proposal for a ceasefire and so give an opportunity to stabilise the situation and calm it before there will be need to apply greater force".
For the truce to hold, Mrs Clinton said, "the rocket attacks [from Gaza] must end and a broader calm must return".
"Now we have to focus on reaching a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security, dignity and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis alike," she added.
US President Barack Obama praised the Israeli leader for accepting the deal and said he would seek additional funding for the Iron Dome missile defence system, which destroyed dozens of rockets from Gaza in mid-air during the past week.
He also thanked Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi for his efforts.
Ties between Hamas and Egypt have strengthened since Mr Mursi was elected earlier this year. Hamas was formed as an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, to which Mr Mursi belongs.
Other terrorist groups operating in Gaza have not signed off on the ceasefire agreement which may make the agreement moot unless Hamas can lean on them to stop firing.
One major demand by Hamas -- the lifting of the economic blockade of the strip -- appears not to have been met, although another key demand that the targeting of individual Hamas leaders stop has been agreed to.
The next move is up to Hamas.