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World Cease-fire in Gaza: What we know about the Israel, Hamas agreement

07:45  21 may  2021
07:45  21 may  2021 Source:   usatoday.com

Israel Deploying 5,000 Reserve Soldiers Amid Conflict with Gaza Militants

  Israel Deploying 5,000 Reserve Soldiers Amid Conflict with Gaza Militants Amid rising violence, Israel said it would increase its military campaign against militants in Gaza after sending airstrikes into the region on Tuesday morning.The Israeli military said it would send troop reinforcements to the Gaza border, about 5,000 reserve soldiers ordered by the defense minister. Officials said in a statement that Egypt was trying to negotiate a cease-fire.

WASHINGTON — Israel and Hamas halted an 11-day military conflict on Thursday night after both sides accepted a ceasefire brokered by Egypt.

The move followed growing pressure from President Joe Biden's administration and others foreign leaders to de-escalate the conflict – which wrought far more devastation in Gaza than Israel and killed significantly more Palestinians. Hamas fired rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas in Israel while Israel pounded Gaza with airstrikes.

Israel described the agreement as "mutual and unconditional." Biden hailed the truce and commended Netanyahu after the Israeli leader confirmed ithe cease-fire by phone Thursday evening.

Gaza's Lone Power Station Could Run Out of Fuel in Coming Days as Conflict With Israel Continues

  Gaza's Lone Power Station Could Run Out of Fuel in Coming Days as Conflict With Israel Continues "If the aggression continues, we expect conditions to become worse," Gaza Mayor Yahya Sarraj told Al-Jazeera TV. The United Nations also warned that Gaza's only power station is at risk of running out of fuel.Gaza's electricity distribution company has enough fuel to power the territory's electricity for two or three days, company spokesman Mohammed Thabet told the Associated Press. He added that the Israeli airstrikes have also damaged supply lines and the continued bombing is preventing company staff from reaching areas that were hit.

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More: Israel, Hamas agree to cease-fire after hundreds killed in Gaza

Who has been killed in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

The latest Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been the worst outbreak of violence in the Mideast since 2014.

At least 230 Palestinians have been killed, including 64 children and 38 women, since the fighting began. Another 1,620 people have been wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, which does not break the numbers down into fighters and civilians.

More: 'Every incendiary ingredient imaginable': Here's what sparked worst Mideast violence since 2014

In Israel, 12 people, including a 5-year-old boy, a 16-year-old girl and a soldier, have been killed.

Israeli cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas amid 2nd week of violence

  Israeli cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas amid 2nd week of violence Israeli cabinet approves cease-fire with Hamas amid 2nd week of violence The office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement Thursday evening stating that the Political Security Cabinet accepted a recommendation for a "bilateral cease-fire without any conditions.

In addition, 58,000 Palestinians have been displaced from their homes during the conflict, while 18 hospital and clinics and a health facility were destroyed, according to the World Health Organization. The central COVID-19 testing lab in Gaza City was almost completely destroyed.

Biden sees 'genuine opportunity' for progress toward peace

In brief remarks Thursday, Biden said the deal opened an opportunity to seek a broader peace agreement amid the parties.

"I believe the Palestinians and Israelis equally deserve to live safely and securely and to enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy," he said. "My administration will continue our quiet, relentless diplomacy toward that end. I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress and I'm committed to working for it."

More: Biden tells Netanyahu he expects 'a significant de-escalation today' with path toward cease-fire

Mideast Conflict Was Tough for Israel, Terrible for Hamas, Great for Biden

  Mideast Conflict Was Tough for Israel, Terrible for Hamas, Great for Biden With Israeli continuing to pummel Hamas, and growing support for Palestinians within his own party, Biden seemed to have no good options. Yet he comes out of the crisis with more freedom to do what he actually wants: Seek a deal with Iran.The exchange of rocket and mortar fire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza had put Biden in a difficult spot. The left flank of the Democratic party has been increasingly outspoken in its support for the Palestinian people. And when Israel responded militarily to Hamas's attack, progressives—led by Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar—criticized Israel and went after Biden himself.

More: Key players in the Israel-Palestinian conflict and why peace remains elusive in Gaza

Joe Biden wearing a suit and tie: WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the conflict in the Middle East from Cross- Hall of the White House on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Israel and Hamas announced that they would agree to a cease-fire, which will take into effect on Friday, following days of fighting that claimed more than 200 lives. © Anna Moneymaker, Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 20: U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the conflict in the Middle East from Cross- Hall of the White House on May 20, 2021 in Washington, DC. Israel and Hamas announced that they would agree to a cease-fire, which will take into effect on Friday, following days of fighting that claimed more than 200 lives.

Biden extended his condolences to families of victims – Israelis and Palestinians. "These hostilities have resulted in the tragic deaths of so many civilians," he said.

As the fighting escalated, Biden faced increasing pressure from Democrats to intervene more forcefully to stop Israel's onslaught of airstrikes. On Wednesday, he called for a "significant de-escalation" from Netanyahu, but Israel continued its operation.

Recounting his Thursday phone call with Netanyahu – his sixth in recent days – Biden said he reiterated the U.S.'s "full support" of Israel to defend itself against Hamas. He also vowed the U.S. will help replenish Israel's sophisticated Iron Dome missile defense system, which limited casualties in Israel.

Red Cross Asks Gaza, Israel to Engage in Cease-Fire, Even for 'A Couple of Hours'

  Red Cross Asks Gaza, Israel to Engage in Cease-Fire, Even for 'A Couple of Hours' The head of the Red Cross sub-delegation in Gaza, Mirjam Muller, called for a pause in fighting Thursday to allow for "a breather" so people can shop for food, see a doctor if needed and tend to their needs.The head of the ICRC sub-delegation in Gaza, Mirjam Muller, called for a pause in fighting Thursday to allow for "a breather" so people can shop for food, see a doctor if needed and tend to their needs, the Associated Press reported.

Biden said the U.S. took part in "intensive high-level discussions, hour-by-hour, literally" with Egypt and other intermediaries to avoid a prolonged conflict. He credited Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi for his role in brokering the deal.

How the conflict started

The fighting began when Hamas militant groups fired rockets toward Jerusalem following days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police in Jerusalem near the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, a site sacred to Jews and Muslims.

Palestinians were protesting an effort by Jewish settlers to evict Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem.

a man sitting in front of a building: An Israeli border police officer confronts a Palestinian man during protests in east Jerusalem on May 18, 2021. © Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images An Israeli border police officer confronts a Palestinian man during protests in east Jerusalem on May 18, 2021.

Hamas, which controls Gaza, fired thousands of rockets at civilian targets in Israel, sending Israelis scrambling to bomb shelters. The vast majority Hamas' rockets  were intercepted by the Dome missile defense system.

Israel responded with its own fusillade of missiles aimed at degrading Hamas' military capability and killing its leaders. Gaza is home to approximately two million Palestinians.

More: Gaza children bearing the brunt in Israel-Hamas conflict

Democrats say the Israel-Hamas cease-fire isn't enough to prevent future violence in the region

  Democrats say the Israel-Hamas cease-fire isn't enough to prevent future violence in the region Democrats have underscored that the tenuous cease-fire doesn't resolve the underlying causes of the violence, and are pressuring Biden to do more.Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a statement said he was "relieved" by the reports of a cease-fire agreement, but added that he's "deeply concerned that without meaningful progress towards a two-state future, the conditions of despair will deepen, further fuel extremism and lead to a tragic renewal of the cycle of violence.

More: Al-Aqsa mosque taken from prayer to violence: Divergent photos from one of Islam's holiest sites

What's next?

Hostilities between Israel and Palestine remain high and go back decades.

Even as a cease-fire was reached, Israel's Defense Forces said sirens alerting Israeli residents of Hamas rocket fire were sounding in the south of the country.

Taher Nounou, a Hamas official, confirmed the deal: “The Palestinian resistance will commit itself to this deal as long as the occupation is committed,” he said.

More: Bernie Sanders wants to stop US arms sale to Israel, following similar resolution from AOC, Tlaib

Biden vowed "rapid humanitarian assistance" through the United Nations to the people of Gaza, making it clear it would be made through partnership with Palestinian authorities, not Hamas.

Both sides will be on edge as the truce goes into effect, and with tensions still high, some worry it may not hold. Meanwhile, the United Nations and other relief organizations will launch a massive relief and reconstruction effort in Gaza, which bore the brunt of the casualties and infrastructural damage.

Contributing: Kim Hjelmgaard, Maureen Groppe and Associated Press. Reach Joey Garrison on Twitter @joeygarrison.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cease-fire in Gaza: What we know about the Israel, Hamas agreement

The practical and political implications of Democrats pressuring Israel .
The Democrats’ latest actions on Israel — and their failure to stand up to Hamas and to Iran — carry negative consequences not just for Israel, but also for the Democratic Party’s political viability with Jewish voters. While Jewish voters comprise a small sect of the overall electorate and tend to vote Democratic, small shifts toward the GOP among Jewish voters in key states that Democrats lost in 2020 - like Florida, which has a relatively high Jewish population - likely damaged Democrats in 2020, and will continue to do so in future elections.

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