Egypt announced on Wednesday that a ceasefire had been reached to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, ending a week of violence in and around the Gaza Strip that killed more than 150 people.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr made the announcement in a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying the ceasefire would come into effect within less than two hours.
“Egypt has made great efforts … since the start of the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip,” Amr said.
“[The ceasefire] will come into effect at nine Cairo time,” 1900 GMT, he added.
“These efforts and contacts have resulted in understandings to cease fire and restore calm and halt the bloodshed that the last period has seen,” he added.
“Egypt calls on all to monitor the implementation of what has been agreed under Egypt’s sponsorship and to guarantee the commitment of all the parties to what has been agreed,” he said.
A cease-fire between Israel and Hamas will take effect at 9 p.m. (2 p.m. ET) today, Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr announced at a joint news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Israeli-Hamas cease-fire should “improve conditions for the people of Gaza and provide security for the people of Israel,” Clinton said.
The upsurge in violence began eight days ago. Hamas has been firing hundreds of rockets from Gaza into Israel, and Israel has launched repeated airstrikes into Gaza.
At least 142 people have died in Gaza since the Israeli airstrikes began, according to the Ministry of the Interior in Gaza. Another 1,180 have been injured, the ministry said. In Israel, five people have died and 94 have been wounded, according to authorities. (Source: CNN)
Readouts of President Obama’s Calls to Leaders in the Gaza conflict
Readout of the President’s call with President Morsi
President Obama spoke to President Morsi today. The President thanked President Morsi for his efforts to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and for his personal leadership in negotiating a ceasefire proposal. President Morsi expressed appreciation for President Obama’s efforts in this regard.
President Obama and President Morsi agreed on the importance of working toward a more durable solution to the situation in Gaza.
President Obama reaffirmed the close partnership between the United States and Egypt, and welcomed President Morsi’s commitment to regional security.
Readout of the President’s Call to Prime Minister Netanyahu
President Obama spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu today and reiterated his commitment to Israel’s security.
The President made clear that no country can be expected to tolerate rocket attacks against civilians.
The President expressed his appreciation for the Prime Minister’s efforts to work with the new Egyptian government to achieve a sustainable ceasefire and a more durable solution to this problem.
The President commended the Prime Minister for agreeing to the Egyptian ceasefire proposal – which the President recommended the Prime Minster do – while reiterating that Israel maintains the right to defend itself.
The President said that the United States would use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza.
The President said that he was committed to seeking additional funding for Iron Dome and other US-Israel missile defense programs.