Friday, August 01, 2014

1-Aug-14: A three-day ceasefire has just started in Gaza [Updated]

A volley, from among the several thousand Gazan rockets directed at anything Israeli,
is fired from Gaza City on Tuesday July 15, 2014 [Image Source: Agence France-Presse/Getty Image]
From Reuters:
A 72-hour Gaza ceasefire period began on Friday, the most ambitious attempt so far to end more than three weeks of fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Hamas Islamist-dominated enclave. The humanitarian truce, brokered by the United Nations and the United States, went into effect at 1 a.m. EDT (0500 GMT), and was to be lead to talks in Egypt on a longer-term solution.
For the information-challenged wondering what kind of fire is being ceased, the BBC tells us:
Since Israel began its offensive in Gaza on 8 July, more than 1,420 Palestinians have been killed, most of them civilians, health officials say. Sixty-one Israeli soldiers have died, as well two Israeli civilians and a Thai national in Israel. Israel says its operation in Gaza is designed to defend its population from attacks by Palestinian militants. Hamas wants a blockade of Gaza, maintained by both Israel and Egypt, to be lifted.
As for those almost-3,000 rockets that preceded Israel's "offensive", the BBC's editors would prefer their audience knew as little as possible about them. So they're absent from the report. Life is so much simpler when it's black-and-white.

UPDATE at 1:00 pm Israel time, Friday: Reuters says:
A Gaza ceasefire was in jeopardy just hours after it began on Friday, with the Islamist group Hamas saying Israeli tank fire killed four people and Israel accusing militants of violating the truce... Some two hours after the truce went into effect, a Reuters photographer and the Gaza Interior Ministry said Israeli tanks opened fire in the southern Rafah area, and Hamas media reported four people were killed... An official in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said Hamas and other armed groups in the Gaza Strip had "flagrantly violated the ceasefire". But the official did not elaborate.
And over at Ynet:
The lull was seemingly first broken by terror factions in Gaza who fired a mortar at Israel at roughly 10 am Friday morning. The mortar, which was followed by another shortly after, failed to land in Israel, falling in Gaza territory.
The prime minister's office is quoted on BBC TV (1:25 pm). Israel, it says, is avoiding the term "collapse" and speaking of "gross violations" of the 72-hour ceasefire by Hamas. BBC's 1:30 pm headline says the ceasefire is "unraveling" and that the IDF is warning residents of near-Gaza communities to stay indoors.

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