Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire Thursday, putting a halt on their 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip and left more than 200 people dead. Just as the cease-fire took effect at 2 a.m. local time, life returned to the streets of Gaza with people leaving their homes and celebrating the truce. Unfortunately, like the three previous wars between Israel and Hamas, the latest round of fighting ended inconclusively. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu faced opposition from his hard-line, right-wing base that he stopped the operation too soon. Hamas, the Islamic militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, also claimed victory.
Netanyahu’s office said his Security Cabinet had unanimously accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal after recommendations from Israel’s military chief and other top security officials. A statement boasted of “significant achievements in the operation, some of which are unprecedented,” adding, “the political leaders emphasized that the reality on the ground will determine the future of the campaign.”
At least 230 Palestinians were killed, including 65 children and 39 women, with 1,710 people wounded, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Twelve people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and 16-year-old girl, were killed. The United States initially backed what it said was Israel’s right to self-defense against indiscriminate rocket fire. but as the death toll rose, America pressured Israel to stop the offensive. In Washington, Biden hailed the cease-fire. “I believe we have a genuine opportunity to make progress, and I’m committed to working for it,” he said.
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