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Israel declares unilateral Gaza cease-fire


Source: | 01-18-2009 11:25

Special Report:   Israel airstrikes in Gaza

In the Mideast, Israel has called off its three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced on Saturday evening that the unilateral ceasefire would start at 2 a.m. local time on Sunday. The announcement came amid hopes from both Palestinians and Israelis that a ceasefire would finally bring peace to Gaza.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaks at a press conference after security cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, on Jan. 17, 2008. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Saturday evening declared a unilateral ceasefire in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, beginning from 2 a.m. (0000 GMT) Sunday. The declaration came shortly after Israeli security cabinet voted in favor of a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza, where Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Cast Lead Operation had been going on in the past three weeks, killing more than 1,200 Palestinians.  (Xinhua Photo)
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert speaks at a press 
conference after security cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, on 
Jan. 17, 2008. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert Saturday 
evening declared a unilateral ceasefire in the Hamas-ruled
Gaza Strip, beginning from 2 a.m. (0000 GMT) Sunday. 
The declaration came shortly after Israeli security cabinet 
voted in favor of a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza, where 
Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Cast Lead Operation had been 
going on in the past three weeks, killing more than 1,200 
Palestinians.  (Xinhua Photo)

Under the Egyptian-brokered unilateral ceasefire proposal, Israel's leaders have agreed that fighting will stop immediately.

Under the proposal, Israeli forces would remain in Gaza during that time, and the territory's border crossing with Israel and Egypt would remain closed until security arrangements are made to prevent Hamas arms smuggling.

Meanwhile, after being bombarded for three weeks, Palestinians in Gaza are holding out hope for a ceasefire. It's a hope shared by a number of Israelis as well.

Mohammad Shehab, Gaza Resident, said, "I hope they'll abide by a ceasefire, open the crossings, and lift the siege. The Palestinian people have suffered. It's enough."

Zohar, Ashkelon Resident, said, "A ceasefire of course is good for Israel, a ceasefire is good for all the world. Ceasefire from both sides is good, of course. Fire is not good."