Hamas: Ceasefire 'Paves Way to Liberate Palestine'
JERUSALEM, Israel -- Fifty days after the start of Operation Protective Edge, Israel and Hamas announced an unlimited ceasefire.
Many feel it might be a temporary lull in the ongoing struggle between the radical Islamic group and the Jewish state.
After Tuesday's ceasefire announcement, Hamas organized a celebration in Gaza City. Women threw candy, men waved flags, and Hamas spokesmen declared victory.
"We are here today -- after achieving an agreement between the two sides -- to announce the victory of resistance. We are here today to announce the victory of Gaza," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told the crowd.
Hamas sustained a devastating blow yet they are still claiming victory. How is this possible? CBN News Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell addressed this question and more on The 700 Club, Aug. 27.***
In Israel, experts said Hamas had sustained its worst blow ever and would brag no matter what. Many Israelis sounded relieved, but leery.
"I'm very, very happy that it happens, but I'm very doubtful about the effectiveness of this ceasefire because it could be that this is the 14th ceasefire that we are getting in," Moshe, a resident of Tel Aviv, told CBN News.
The Egyptian-brokered agreement stipulates the following:
- No more rocket fire from Gaza
- The opening of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt
- Expanded fishing rights off the Gaza coast
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In approximately one month, negotiations will begin on building a seaport and airport in Gaza and the release of Hamas prisoners.
"This time we hope the ceasefire will stick, and I think now that the dust will be clearing many people will be asking 'why is it that Hamas has today accepted the very same framework that they rejected a month ago?' So much bloodshed could have been avoided," Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev said.
Despite the loss of so much life, Hamas sounded defiant and ready for the next round of fighting.
A Hamas spokesman said, "The value of this campaign is not in the opening of this crossing or that crossing, but in paving the way for the next phase of liberating Jerusalem and the land of Palestine. Today we are closer to Jerusalem."