Israel, Palestinians agree to new 72-hour cease-fire

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel and Palestinian factions, including Hamas, agreed to a new 72-hour cease-fire.

The French news agency AFP reported Sunday evening on the agreement by both sides in the current Gaza conflict. Israeli government officials agreed in a statement that night and  the Palestinians had notified the Egyptians of their agreement, The New York Times reported.

An Israeli delegation was dispatched to Cairo to finalize the agreement, Israel’s Channel 2 reported.

The cease-fire  was to begin at midnight, according to reports. Egypt in a statement said it was aimed at trying to ease the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza and fix infrastructure there, as well as provide a window for talks for a “complete and permanent cease-fire,” the Times reported.

Egyptian mediators have been negotiating separately with both sides since a previous 72-hour cease-fire that began nearly a week ago. The Israeli delegation to the negotiations reportedly left Cairo when the cease-fire expired on Friday morning and rockets fired from Gaza again began to strike Israel, which insists it will not negotiate under fire.

The Palestinian delegation had said earlier Sunday that it would leave if an Israeli delegation did not arrive in Cairo to continue talks.

Following the reporting of the decision to try a new cease-fire, several barrages of rockets were fired from Gaza at southern Israeli communities.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Sunday morning at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting that the military operation to end rocket fire on Israel is continuing.

“The operation will continue until its goal is met – the restoration of a quiet for a long period,” he said. “I said at the outset of, and throughout, the operation that it would take time and patience. Israel will not negotiate under fire and Israel will continue to take all action in order to change the current reality and bring quiet to all of its citizens.”

 

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