Gaza ceasefire to take effect at 1900 GMT
(Agencies) / 21 November 2012
CAIRO — Israel and Hamas agreed on a truce that will take effect on Wednesday night, ending a week of violence in and around the Gaza Strip that killed more than 150 people, Egypt and the United States said.
“The United States welcomes the agreement today for a ceasefire. In the days ahead, the United States will work with partners in the region to consolidate this progress,” Clinton said.
Nearly 24 hours after a truce had been expected to take hold, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said he was prepared to give peace a chance.
“A short while ago Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke with (US) President Barack Obama and agreed to his recommendation to give a chance to an Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire and thereby give an opportunity for the stabilisation of the situation and a calming of it,” said a statement.
It won him praise from Obama.
“The president commended the prime minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal, which the president recommended the prime minster do, while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself,” the White House said.
In Cairo, Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal was due to give a news conference following the announcement, Hamas sources told AFP.
The agreement came after a day of shuttle diplomacy — led by Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon — which was marred by more deadly cross-border violence between Israel and militants in Gaza.
Hopes for a truce appeared to have been faint just hours earlier as a blast tore through a bus in Tel Aviv and Israel hit back with deadly air raids on Gaza City and elsewhere in the Palestinian territory.
The conflict had threatened to take a new turn on Wednesday when a bomb ripped through a commuter bus in Israel’s commercial capital, injuring 17 people and sparking panic.
The blast occurred very close to the Israeli defence ministry .…read more…