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Israel, Hamas Agree To Gaza Cease-Fire

November 21, 2012


Israel and Hamas have agreed to a cease-fire to end a week of deadly violence in and around Gaza.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced the cease-fire at a joint press conference on November 21 with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Amr said the cease-fire would come into effect on November 21 at 1900 GMT/UTC.

He said that Egypt's "extensive discussions since the new outbreak of hostilities in the Gaza Strip with all parties" had "managed to reach an agreement of a cease-fire and the return of calm and halt of the violence and the bloodshed that was witnessed recently."

Egypt has led international efforts to end the conflict, which has killed at least 148 Palestinians and five Israelis since it erupted eight days ago.

Clinton welcomed the cease-fire announcement. She echoed President Barack Obama in thanking Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi for his personal efforts to de-escalate the situation in Gaza.

"This is a critical moment for the region," she said. "Egypt's new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone of regional stability and peace."

Obama in a telephone call praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for agreeing to support the Egyptian plan for a cease-fire in the Gaza conflict.

In a statement, Netanyahu expressed his deep appreciation for Obama.

He thanked the U.S. president for his support for Israel throughout the operation and for his contribution to the Iron Dome air-defense system.

The vaunted antimissile system has intercepted more than 420 rockets fired from Gaza during the latest violence.

Clinton met with Morsi in Cairo after first meeting with Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank on November 21 to boost efforts to broker a truce.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also arrived in Cairo after holding separate talks with Abbas in the West Bank capital of Ramallah earlier the same day.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/israel-hamas-cease-fire/24777780.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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