Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza have agreed to a ceasefire on Thursday May 20 after 11 days of fighting, which left more than 230 people dead, most of them in Gaza.
The truce, which was mediated by Egypt, took effect at 2am on Friday morning after the worst violence between Israelis and Palestinians in years, according to the New York Times.
The fighting erupted on May 10 when Hamas militants in Gaza fired its first rockets at Israel in response to several Israeli police raids on the al-Asqa Mosque, Islam’s third holiest site, and Israel’s plans to evict several Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.
Gaza officials say that more than 230 people, including 65 children and 39 women, were killed. Thousands of homes and critical infrastructure, including Gaza’s only lab for processing coronavirus tests, was destroyed, according to officials. At least twelve people in Israel, including two children, were killed, according to AP.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his security cabinet unanimously accepted the ceasefire proposal, with the defence minister saying on Twitter that they had made “unprecedented military gains” from the operation.
A Hamas official told AP that the ceasefire announced by Israel is a “victory” for the Palestinian people and a defeat for Netanyahu.
After the truce took effect, hundreds of Palestinians took to the streets of Gaza to celebrate. However, with the fighting ending inconclusively, the underlying causes of the conflict still remain, according to the New York Times.
World leaders have welcomed the ceasefire, with the UN calling on global leaders to help rebuild Gaza.