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    Israel, Hamas Accept Gaza Cease-Fire Accord

    August 27, 2014

    Israel and Hamas said they accepted an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire plan to end a seven-week conflict in the Gaza Strip that has killed more than 2,100 Palestinians and about 70 Israelis, according to a report by the Bloomberg.

    The cease-fire, announced in a statement by Egypt’s Foreign Ministry, started at 7 p.m. local time yesterday and was hailed from mosque loudspeakers in Gaza City as thousands of Palestinians poured into the streets. Rifle-toting militants fired in the air, cheering, “Long live Hamas!”

     

    Under the deal, Gaza’s border crossings with Israel are being opened to let in reconstruction materials and foreign aid, while fishing zones off the coast have been extended, Egypt said. The two sides will resume indirect talks on “other issues” in the coming month, it said.

     

    “We’ve come to an arrangement,” Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz told Channel 2 television, confirming that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accepted the cease-fire. “We didn’t win in a knock-out,” he said.

     

    Hamas, the militant group that rules Gaza, had demanded an end to the blockade on Gaza initiated in 2006 after the group won Palestinian elections. Israel wants the transit points supervised by a third party to prevent arms smuggling. It has called for the disarming of Hamas and other militants groups, which were also involved in the truce talks.

     

    Hundreds of the Palestinians killed during 50 days of fighting were women and children, according to Gaza officials. About 70 Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, were killed.

     

    The conflict also has hurt the Israeli economy, prompting the central bank to cut its benchmark interest rate this week for the second consecutive month, to a record 0.25 percent.(KH)

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