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UN chief calls for "durable peace" in Gaza after indefinite truce

The ceasefire provides for the opening of border crossings.

A Palestinian relative salvages what he can from his family's belongings amid the rubble of the al-Akhras family home after it was hit by Israeli strike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip.
A Palestinian relative salvages what he can from his family's belongings amid the rubble of the al-Akhras family home after it was hit by Israeli strike in Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

Updated: Wednesday 7.10 am

UN SECRETARY GENERAL Ban Ki-Moon has called for a peace process that “tackles the root causes” of the conflict in Gaza, after the agreement of an indefinite truce between Israel and Hamas.

In a statement last night, Ban said he hoped the Egyptian-brokered, open-ended ceasefire would be a “prelude to a political process” which would end in a “final status agreement that addresses all core issues and ends the 47-year occupation.”

After 50 days of profound human suffering and devastating physical destruction, any violations of the ceasefire would be utterly irresponsible.
Any peace effort that does not tackle the root causes of the crisis will do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence

Israel yesterday confirmed it had agreed to observe an “unlimited” ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, shortly after the deal was announced by the Palestinians.

“We have accepted, once again, an Egyptian proposal for an unconditional and unlimited-in-time ceasefire,” a senior Israeli official said, speaking on condition of anonymity, just moments before the truce went into effect at 5pm.

Egypt says that the ceasefire will mean immediate opening of Israeli border crossings to aid and reconstruction supplies.

The ceasefire came into was confirmed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry and a Palestinian official also confirmed that an agreement had been reached that seeks to put a “durable” end to seven weeks of bloodshed.

Alongside a comprehensive ceasefire, the two sides agreed to the “simultaneous opening of the border crossings between Israel and Gaza to enable the rapid entry of humanitarian aid and relief and reconstruction supplies,” a foreign ministry statement said.

The Egyptian-brokered deal also provides for the immediate extension to six nautical miles off the Gaza coast of the limit imposed by Israel on the territory’s fishermen.

It foresees “continuation of indirect negotiations between the two sides on other matters within one month of the ceasefire taking effect.”

Thousands of Palestinians flooded on to the streets of Gaza City, including gunmen — some from Hamas — who fired in the air in celebration just moments after the truce began, AFP correspondents said.

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Mosques used their loudspeakers to broadcast celebratory chants of “God is greatest” as the wartorn enclave hailed the apparent end to some of the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in a decade.

News of the deal came after weeks of Egyptian-led efforts to end the violence, now in its 50th day, the deadliest between Israel and the Palestinians in a decade.

There had been no sign of any letup in the fighting earlier today, with 10 Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes and tank shelling, and two dozen people lightly wounded, as Gaza militants fired 98 rockets at southern and central Israel.

The fighting, which began on 8 July 8, has killed 2,138 Palestinians, nearly three-quarters of them civilians, according to UN figures, and 68 on the Israeli side, nearly all of them soldiers.

© – AFP 2014

Read: Gaza offensive ‘will last as long as necessary’ says Netanyahu

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