Israel and Hamas Begin Cease-Fire in Gaza Conflict

As both Israel and Hamas accept a 72-hour cease-fire, the two warring factions in Gaza are reportedly to begin negotiations on a permanent settlement. It is not clear how this will affect the more than 1,700 Palestinians who are believed to have been killed during the conflict. (Another 3,000 people have sustained injuries, and an estimated 50,000 homes and 200 schools have been destroyed.)

Israel and Hamas agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce to begin at 8pm local time Friday, hoping to create conditions for a longer-term truce and potential peace talks. The announcement came after the families at the center of the conflict were evacuated and Israel faced a wave of international condemnation for its military campaign.

The news that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire deal was met with mixed reactions from members of the international community. Israel has requested the end of violence in the Gaza Strip in order to allow for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the 2 million Palestinians living in the area. Hamas has agreed to end its rocket attacks on Israel in exchange for ending all Israeli attacks in the area.

Here’s what you need to know:


An Israeli Arab woman and her daughter walking past the wreckage of a car in Lod, Israel, on Wednesday.Credit…Dan Balilty for The New York Times

The mob violence between Jews and Arabs has been among the most disturbing developments of the latest Israel-Gaza conflict, prompting President Reuven Rivlin of Israel to warn of the perils of “civil war.” This week, The Times’s Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner visited the Israeli city of Lod, a few miles south of Tel Aviv, as the conflict continued into its 11th day.

A veneer of calm has been restored to Lod, a mixed Arab-Jewish town of 80,000. It was a stark contrast to the scene just over a week ago.

At that time, some 40 Orthodox Jewish families fled their homes as angry mobs rampaged in the streets. Many needed police protection when they fled and rioters set fire to cars, apartments, synagogues and even a religious school during three nights of unrest. About 30 families had returned by Wednesday.

Some Arab families from the same neighborhood were also forced to flee after dozens of right-wing Jewish vigilantes from outside the city, including armed West Bank settlers, came into town and attacked Arab property. Witnesses in the city said they had heard gunshots from both sides.

Even with calm mostly restored and most of the burned-out cars and trucks removed, the air is still filled with a faint acrid smell lingering from the arson attacks.

The city, which had an uneasy and fragile coexistence even before the latest conflict, remained under a state of emergency as hundreds of Border Police officers patrolled areas of friction.

A Jewish resident who was critically injured when Arab protesters threw a heavy rock at him from a bridge died of his wounds and was buried on Tuesday. Another Jewish resident who was stabbed and severely wounded a week ago remained in hospital.

Similar scenes of violence played out in other mixed cities and Arab towns, including Acre and Haifa, long proud of their relations with their neighbors. Jews beat a driver who was presumed to be Arab almost to death in a Tel Aviv suburb.

“I believe we can get back to where we were before,” said Avi Rokach, a leader of the religious community in Lod. “But it might take some time.”

Rami Salama, an Arab resident of a mixed Lod neighborhood that was worst hit by the violence, said, “I only want peace and love here, really.”

But he said he feared that peace might prove elusive as people seek vengeance for the violence and blood demands more blood.

The Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem.Credit…Ahmad Gharabli/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Our Jerusalem bureau chief, Patrick Kingsley, examined the events that have led to the past week’s violence, the worst between Israelis and Palestinians in years. A little-noticed police action in Jerusalem was among them. He writes:

Twenty-seven days before the first rocket was fired from Gaza this week, a squad of Israeli police officers entered the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, brushed the Palestinian attendants aside and strode across its vast limestone courtyard. Then they cut the cables to the loudspeakers that broadcast prayers to the faithful from four medieval minarets.

It was the night of April 13, the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It was also Memorial Day in Israel, which honors those who died fighting for the country. The Israeli president was delivering a speech at the Western Wall, a sacred Jewish site that lies below the mosque, and Israeli officials were concerned that the prayers would drown it out.

Here is his full account of that night and the events that later unfolded.Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease fire in a conflict that has lasted seven weeks. Both sides in the conflict have agreed to return to negotiations in Cairo and also to end the flow of rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, according to a statement from Egypt. Hamas has agreed to stop launching rockets into Israel and Israel will cease military actions against Gaza, according to the statement.. Read more about israel broke ceasefire and let us know what you think.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas?

There is no ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Did Israel cease-fire?

Israel did not cease-fire.

What started Israel and Hamas conflict?

The conflict started in the year 2000 when Ariel Sharon, then Israeli Prime Minister, visited the Temple Mount. This was a violation of the status quo that had been in place since 1967. What is the status quo? The status quo is the situation that existed before a change.

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