Just as I forecast. This is a big victory for Netanyahu. Israel is permitted to continue destroying tunnels and its military can stay in place. Ted Belman
The 72-hour hour unconditional, humanitarian ceasefire announced by the US and UN, was scheduled to begin at 8 am local time Friday. The US State Department said that military forces will stay in place. The US and UN said they had assurances that all parties to the conflict had agreed to an unconditional cease-fire during which there would be negotiations on a more durable truce.
This was confirmed early Friday by a source in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. The Paletinian Hamas and Jihad Islami also confirmed acceptance of the ceasefire, following which they fired two rockets into Israel.
Israeli and Palestinian delegations will “immediately” be going to Cairo for negotiations with the Egyptian government to try at reach a more permanent cease-fire, the State Department said.
“During this period, civilians in Gaza will receive urgently needed humanitarian relief, and the opportunity to carry out vital functions, including burying the dead, taking care of the injured, and restocking food supplies. Overdue repairs on essential water and energy infrastructure could also continue during this period.”
During the cease-fire, Israel will be able to continue its defense operations to destroy tunnels that are behind its territorial lines.
“We hope this moment can be grabbed by both parties, but no one can force them to do that,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said.
The Palestinian delegation is expected to include members of Hamas, which the United States and Israel consider a terrorist organization and cannot be negotiated with directly. So if the Israelis and Palestinians meet face to face, the Hamas members will not participate in those talks. The Egyptians will be the go-between for all of this and will help coordinate, a senior State Department official said,