A truce has been reached between Israel and Hamas, ending a week of fighting which cost the lives of at least 155 Palestinians and five Israelis.
The violence between Israel and Gaza flared after Israeli drones targeted and killed a Hamas military chief on November 14, marking the start of cross-border exchange of fire. Gaza militants fired rockets into Israel, which bombarded Gaza from land, air and sea.
According to the ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, Israel will stop all hostilities against Gaza, which will end “rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.” If this truce holds for the next 24 hours, Israel would have to start procedures to end the Gaza blockade by opening border crossings and allowing the movement of people and goods.
Online, anticipation has been building up for the declaration of a ceasefire.
Andy Carvin notes:
@acarvin: Apart from new year's, I don't think I've ever seen so many people tweet what time it is. #gaza #ceasefire
While Iyad El_Baghdadi remarks:
@iyad_elbaghdadi: 9:08 local time, explosions still being heard in #Gaza, sirens still being sounded in #Israel.
Soon, the sound of celebratory gunfire filled the air in Gaza.
On Audioboo, BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar, who is in Gaza, shares a sound track:
Nayef describes the scene:
@TheNElectric: Gaza streets are full of celebrations. Satisfaction, pride & glory are drawn all over Gazans faces
While Majed Abusalama notes:
@MajedAbusalama: We do not trust #Israel but we can enjoy this moment of #Peace. in #Gaza people are so strong, I really #love them. #resistance
Egyptian Mostafa Hussein jokes:
@moftasa: Congratulations Bibi. You made Khamas stronger.
Shadi Hamid tweets:
@shadihamid: So Hamas got: greater regional legitimacy, spike in popularity, end of assassinations, easing flow of goods into Gaza & a weaker PA to boot.
@shadihamid: In asymmetric battles such as this one, it's very hard for a group like Hamas to ever actually “lose,” as long as it survives.
Israeli Elizabeth Tsurkov says:
@Elizabeth: Bibi kept talking about weakening Hamas and removing them from power for years, and this agreement solidifies their rule
Lauren E. Bohn, who is in Jerusalem, adds:
@LaurenBohn: Talking to handful of #Israel analysts who all say #Hamas came out of this a winner: more international recognition + credibility #Gaza
And journalist Gregg Carlstrom tweets:
@glcarlstrom: My Twitter feed variously informs me that the real winners today are Israel, Hamas, Egypt, the US and Iran. (but everyone agrees Abbas lost)
Praise for Egypt
On Twitter, Palestinians heaped praise on Egypt, for its role in mediating a ceasefire.
Yaser Alzaatreh writes [ar]:
مصر رئيسا وحكومة وشعبا كانت معنا. وقفت دون تردد. صرخ الصهاينة ألما من وقفتها. عادت مصر إلينا وعدنا إليها، فهي قائدة العرب وعنوان عزتهم.
@YZaatreh: Egypt, its President and people, were with us. They did not hesitate in supporting us. Their stance hurt the Zionists. Egypt has returned to us and we have returned to it. Egypt is the leader of Arabs and the sign of their pride.
And, from Gaza, Ola Anan adds:
من كل قلبي .. شكرا مصر :)
@olanan: From the bottom of my heart, thank you Egypt!!
For many, the ceasefire is a welcome relief.
Karen Knox, from Tel Aviv, tweets:
@KarenAbroad: So thankful for #ceasefire tonight as I tuck my little girl into bed here in #TelAviv.
But many are left wondering how long the peace between Gaza and Israel will last for.
Palestinian Hasan Karajah says:
البعض سيذهبون لشرب نخب الانتصار بعد تعبهم في كتابة التغريدات و رجال المقاومة يكونوا في اجتماع الان لوضع خطة الضرب القادمة #المقاومة_مستمرة
@hasankarajah: Some will go to drink to victory after they got exhausted from writing tweets but the men of the resistance movement will be meeting now to draw up a plan for the next strike. The resistance continues.
And, from Israel, Tsurkov adds: