Gaza-Israel: Eyes on long term peace and truce holds

Eyes on long term peace and truce holds
Beit Hanoun in Gaza. The UN has called for "immediate humanitarian assistance". Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: As Israel and Gaza emerge from 11 days of violence, mediators are seeking to cement the truce between the two and prevent more violence in the longer term.

A team from Egypt was in Israel on Saturday, while the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken could visit the region next week.

Both the Palestinian militant group Hamas and Israel have claimed victory in the latest conflict.

More than 250 people were killed, most of them in Gaza, including a number of women and children.

The fighting began on 10 May after weeks of escalating tensions that culminated in clashes at al-Aqsa mosque, a holy site revered by both Jews and Muslims, in occupied East Jerusalem. Hamas began firing rockets after warning Israel to withdraw from the mosque site, triggering retaliatory air strikes.

Since the truce went into effect on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the degrading of Hamas’s military power by air bombardment was an “exceptional success”.

“If Hamas thinks we will tolerate a drizzle of rockets, it is wrong” and pledged a “new level of force” in response, Mr Netanyahu said.

Meanwhile, Hamas, which rules Gaza, has spoken of what it called the “euphoria of victory” and its leader Ismail Haniyeh said the conflict had “opened the door to new phases that will witness many victories”.

The truce held throughout its second day on Saturday, though the terms of the truce are unclear. Israel only said that the country had agreed to a “mutual and unconditional” cessation of hostilities.

Qatar, Egypt, the US and UN appear to have been involved.

The UN Security Council issued its first statement on the conflict on Saturday, praising the mediators and calling for a “full adherence to the ceasefire”.

You may read: Humanitarian aid arrives in conflict-torn Gaza as truce holds