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Israel and Hamas agree to a ceasefire due to the conflict in Gaza

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On Thursday, the Israeli security cabinet voted to approve a temporary ceasefire after 11 days of fighting with Hamas in Israel and the Gaza Strip, raising hopes that the worst violence in years is about to end.

In an interview with the Arab Al-Mayadeen TV network, a Hamas official said that the movement “obtained guarantees from the mediators” to stop the Israeli air strikes on Gaza. The ceasefire began at 2 am local time on Friday.

Palestinians raise flags as they stand in the compound that houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, and the Jews as the Temple Mount, in the Old City of Jerusalem, on May 21, 2021.

Ammar Awad | Reuters

US President Joe Biden, in a Address shortly after 6 pm ET Thursday, He said, he was informed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel had agreed to a “mutual and unconditional ceasefire that would start in less than two hours.”

Biden said Egypt informed him that Hamas, which has fired thousands of rockets into Israel, including Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, has also agreed to a cessation of hostilities. He thanked the Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi for the decisive role that Cairo played in negotiating the armistice.

“I believe that Palestinians and Israelis alike deserve to live in safety and security and enjoy equal measures of freedom, prosperity and democracy,” Biden said of the White House.

“My administration will continue our calm and relentless diplomacy to that end. I believe we have a real opportunity to make progress and I am committed to working towards that.”

US President Joe Biden gives remarks before the ceasefire agreed by Israel and Hamas goes into effect, during a brief appearance in the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, May 20, 2021.

Jonathan Ernst | Reuters

News of the ceasefire followed Wednesday call Between Biden and Netanyahu. During that call, Biden said he expected a “significant drop” in violence, according to the White House.

This is the fourth conversation since the outbreak of violence last week between Israel and Hamas, a Palestinian Islamic political party with an armed wing of the same name that controls the Gaza Strip.

Patience from Washington towards Tel Aviv has grown increasingly in recent days, as the death toll in Gaza from Israeli airstrikes has exceeded 200, including more than 100 women and children. In Israel, 12 people were killed by Hamas rockets as of Thursday noon.

The latest round of fighting marks the worst outbreak of violence since the war between Israel and Hamas in 2014.

A Palestinian looks at the damage to his home as people return to their homes as people return to their homes following the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Beit Hanoun, Gaza, on May 21, 2021.

Mustafa Hassouneh | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

In his Thursday speech, Biden offered his condolences to the Palestinian and Israeli families who lost loved ones and reiterated that the United States will work with the United Nations and others to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza and help rebuild the land.

Biden added, “We will do this in full partnership with the Palestinian Authority and not with Hamas in a way that does not allow Hamas to restock its military arsenal.”

In the days leading up to the ceasefire, the White House pursued a behind-the-scenes strategy of what it called “quiet and intense diplomacy”.

“We have had more than 60 calls, from the president down, with top leaders in Israel, the Palestinian Authority and other leaders in the region” since the start of the conflict, White House deputy chief press secretary, Karen Jean-Pierre Reporters Wednesday.

“The president has done this for a long time, for decades, and he thinks that is the approach that we have to take,” she added.

A demolished 6-storey building in Al-Rimal neighborhood contains libraries, youth centers, training for university students, and a mosque that was bombed by Israeli aircraft in raids on Gaza City, Gaza, on May 18, 2021.

Moamen Fayez | Norphoto | Getty Images

Biden appeared reluctant to publicly pressure Netanyahu to stop air strikes on what Israel describes as embedded military targets in civilian neighborhoods in Gaza.

This has sparked calls from progressive Democrats in Congress and US allies abroad for the president to take a more visible role and put more diplomatic pressure on Israel, which relies heavily on the United States for weapons and military equipment.

Biden, in his conversation with Netanyahu on Thursday, affirmed the United States’ support for Israel’s right to defend itself against Hamas rocket attacks. The President also told the Prime Minister that the United States will help Israel to renew the Iron Dome defense system, which is used to repel such missile attacks.

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