Washington Square News: Temporary cease-fire achieved in Gaza

Israel declared a cease-fire Saturday, temporarily ending its 22-day offensive against Gaza, which began Dec. 27 when Israel initiated a military campaign against Hamas’ infrastructure.

The day after Israel’s announcement, Hamas, the Islamic organization that controls Gaza, announced an immediate cease-fire of one week. But Hamas has threatened to resume the violence if Israeli troops do not leave by the end of the week; nearly 30 Hamas-fired rockets hit Israel on Saturday, with an additional 15 fired on Sunday.

Gaza was relatively peaceful on Sunday, experiencing only a few small skirmishes.

According to The New York Times, over 1,300 Palestinians have been killed, about half of whom are thought to be civilians. 13 Israelis have been killed, 10 of them soldiers.

The military action in the area has intensified opinions on both sides of the conflict.

“These are Palestinian territories, yet Israelis are not under a blockade, Israelis are not subject to humiliating and debilitating checkpoints and Palestinians are the ones dying in large numbers,” said Executive Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations Ahmed M. Rehab. “We need a cease-process, not just a cease-fire.”

Tisch freshman Jonathon Yaniv has a different view.

“I think [the campaign] is justified. It’s a necessity,” he said. “Hamas’ doctrine is the destruction of Israel, without compromise. Israeli children can’t go to school; they have to be evacuated everyday because of rocket fire … People can’t sleep at night because bombs are falling. If someone’s attacking your country, what else can you do?”

Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak hosted a summit Sunday afternoon where the leaders of eight European and Arab nations made an effort to broker a longer-term peace arrangement between Israel and Hamas.

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