WASHINGTON – The United States cautiously welcomed the latest Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire and urged both sides to comply with the terms of the agreement, the State Department said on Tuesday.
“We call on all parties to fully and completely comply with its terms, and hope very much that the cease-fire will prove to be durable and sustainable,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters at a daily briefing.
“We view this as an opportunity, not a certainty,” Psaki said. “There is a long road ahead and we’re aware of that, and we’re going into this eyes wide open,” she added.
Despite the Egyptian announcement of the cease-fire, rocket alert sirens continued to be heard in Israel’s southern communities after the truce’s slated commencement at 7 p.m. An Israeli was killed by one of dozens of mortar shells fired at the Eshkol Regional Council just before the cease-fire was set to commence.
Senior diplomatic officials said that given the history of the last dozens truces, most of which were violated before they expired by Hamas, the IDF remained prepared for any eventuality.
The Egyptian proposal was very similar to the one that Israel accepted and Hamas rejected over a month ago, on July 15.
The general parameters of the cease-fire is that this one will not be limited in time, that Israel will allow humanitarian aid – under supervision – into Gaza to begin rebuilding, and that within a month both sides will raise other issues.
Israel will raise the demilitarization of the Gaza Strip, and the steps needed to ensure that Hamas does not re-arm, while Hamas will demand a seaport, airport, the opening of the border crossings, the release of prisoners freed in the Gilad Schalit deal and then re-arrested, and the transfer of money to pay Hamas salaries. A month ago these were Hamas’ demands for stopping the fighting, demands that Israel made clear were completely unrealistic.
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.
via The Jerusalem Post