Israel’s eight-member Security Council voted Tuesday morning to accept Egypt’s proposal for a cease fire with the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza, effective 9 am.
Among other points, it called for border crossings (from Israel) to Gaza to “be opened,” with the movement of people and goods to be “facilitated once the security situation becomes stable on the ground.”
Within 48 hours of the ceasefire – at 9 am Thursday – Egypt was expected to convene a meeting of Israeli and Hamas negotiators.
IDF Spokesman Lt.Col. Peter Lerner said in a statement sent to media, “In accordance with the government directives, the IDF now holds fire. We remain alert and preserve high preparedness levels, both defensive and offensive. If the Hamas terror organization will fire at Israel, we shall respond.”
Between 9am and 12 noon, 22 rockets and missiles were fired at Israel from Gaza.
Egypt’s goal in advancing the ceasefire was to prevent Israel from initiating a ground invasion of Gaza and possibly being forced to reconquer the territory — maybe this time permanently.
Both Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, chairman of the Yisrael Beytenu party, and Economic Minister Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Bayit Yehudi party, opposed the move.
The cabinet also decided that Israel will “act forcefully” if Hamas violates the agreement – but no details were released on precisely what that means.
Hamas rejected the ceasefire outright, calling it “surrender and capitulation.” Within one hour, two rockets exploded in the Eshkol Regional Council district and shortly after, a Color Red rocket alert siren was activated at Kibbutz Kerem Shalom as well.
Israeli officials painted the cease fire as a victory, saying the IDF’s Operation Protective Edge had thus far left Hamas “much weaker.”
A diplomatic source told media “The goals of the operation were to restore quiet for a long period of time and that goal has been achieved. Hamas did not achieve its goal of striking Israel to the degree it believed that it could, and its power was weakened.”
The Cairo government advanced the proposal to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday evening. It followed a week that saw more than 1,100 missiles fired at Israeli civilians, and in return, some 1,300 IDF targeted air strikes carried out in Gaza.