A farmer is working in the field at an Israeli kibbutz near the border with the Gaza Strip on the first day of a truce reached between Israel and Palestinian armed groups in the Gaza Strip after eight days of fighting, Nov. 22, 2012. (Xinhua/Yang Zhiwang)
JERUSALEM Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Eight days of fighting between Hamas and Israel ended on Wednesday evening with the announcement that a ceasefire had been reached and came into effect at 21:00 local time.
The announcement was made in Cairo by United States Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr, the two main mediators of the agreement.
On the Israeli side, it agreed to stop its military actions on air, land and sea, including targeted killings. The Palestinians, on their part, will stop launching rockets towards Israeli territory as well as attacks against soldiers across the border.
It has been reported that Israel will let people and goods pass more freely at the passages on the Gaza Strip border. The directives about the blockade on the Gaza Strip will be determined in the upcoming days, according to reports.
"The ceasefire agreement will hold and it's in everybody's interest. In that sense, it's a success for both sides," Professor Gabriel Ben-Dor of the University of Haifa told Xinhua on Thursday.
"For Israel it will buy security for the people in the south and it will buy Israel time to get adjusted to the new situation in the south, and time to develop new technology to combat the rocket fire," he said.
"From Hamas' point of view they have gained more legitimacy, they gained an international standing and they gained more support at home from the people to whom they can sell this war as something of a success," Ben-Dor added.
Since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2005 by ousting forces loyal to Fatah, the organization has slowly moved towards statehood with its own government and ministries. And in the long run this can be a positive development for Israel, because it means that Hamas is becoming part of the international community with the various obligations involves.
While the Hamas government doesn't need to fear that it will be ousted in the next elections, as none are held, it still needs to listen to people of the coastal enclave and explain its actions, especially if those action results in an Israel military counteraction.
Eitan Shamir of the Bar-Ilan University argued the decision makers in Israel are employing the same logic towards Gaza as they did towards Hezbollah in the second Lebanon war in 2006; in which Israel fought a month long war against Hezbollah in southern Lebanon after two Israeli soldiers were kidnapped by Hezbollah.
In addition to air and naval strikes on Lebanon, Israel also sent ground forces into Lebanon. Hezbollah responded by firing rocks over northern Israel.
"The basic logic is creating a situation where you hit the other side whether it's Hamas or Hezbollah, you hit it very hard and following that you acquire a period of quiet," Shamir said.
"So in the end, the assumption is that these organizations have to do some cost-benefit calculations and they will realize that it 's better for them, in their own interest, to remain quiet because the cost is to high," he added.
While this is the same tactic which Israel used during Operation Cast Lead in 2009, which had the same objective as the now completed Operation Pillar of Defense, the major difference is how the conflict ended in 2009 and this time around, in which there is a ceasefire agreement brokered by a third party.
In 2006 the ceasefire agreement was mediated by the United Nations, and since then the Israeli-Lebanese border has been quiet. So the fact that there is a ceasefire agreement now and the fighting didn't end with a unilateral Israeli ceasefire and then Hamas following suite, as was the case in 2009, should be taken as a sign that this time the Israel-Gaza border will also be quiet.
Another difference from Cast Lead is the involvement of Egypt, while in 2009 the Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak kept Egypt on the sidelines, his successor Mohammed Morsi quickly took the role of mediator.
While Morsi's party, the Muslim Brotherhood, does enjoy strong ties with Hamas, it also has relations with Israel and the U.S. which make it an ideal candidate for the role as a peace keeper.
GAZA, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Head of Hamas government in Gaza Ismail Haneya on Thursday called on all Palestinian factions and armed groups to be committed to the Egyptian-brokered ceasefire agreement reached with Israel.
Haneya was speaking in a televised speech aired by Hamas al- Aqsa TV, where a poster behind him hanged on the wall said "Gaza won." Full story