Gaza City, 2 Dzulqa’dah 1435/27 August 2014 (MINA) – Thousands of Palestinians took to the streets across the Gaza Strip and West Bank on Tuesday to celebrate a ceasefire deal between Palestinian resistance factions and Israel.
Jubilant Palestinians opened fire into the air while others were seen distributing sweets, according to Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
Hundreds of Palestinians taking refugee inside the Shifaa hospital in the Gaza City also fired firecrackers in celebration.
An Egyptian-brokered ceasefire went into effect on Tuesday, bringing to a halt 51 days of relentless Israeli attacks on the blockaded coastal enclave.
Palestinian resistance factions, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, have called on Gaza residents to go out into the streets to celebrate their “victory”.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the deal called for the opening of all border crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel, which would effectively signal the end of Israel’s years-long embargo of the coastal enclave.
The ceasefire formally came into effect at 16:00 GMT Tuesday.
A chance to “build a new nation and end the occupation”
Meanwhile Al Jazeera reported from West Bank that The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said on Tuesday from the occupied West Bank that a formula had been accepted by all parties and that a ceasefire had gone into effect at 16.00 GMT.
He hailed the agreement as a chance to “build a new nation and end the occupation”, before thanking Egypt, Qatar and the US for their roles in brokering the agreement made during indirect talks in Cairo.
The Reuters and AP news agencies quoted Israeli officials as saying that the Israeli government had accepted the deal. Israeli media reported the same.
Hamas’s exiled deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzouk, said the agreement was a “victory for the resistance”.
Crowds took to the bombed-out streets of Gaza to celebrate the end of hostilities. Many used the v-sign to signify Palestinian victory over Israel.
Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons, reporting Gaza, said that the deal agreed an immediate easing of Israel’s blockage of crossings into Gaza, and a gradual lifting of restrictions on fishing off the coast of the strip.
“The embargo will be lifted and the five border posts will see considerable changes, with the Rafah border crossing opening,” he said in reference to the crossing between Egypt and Gaza.
Discussions on the creation of a seaport and airport will take place in a month, when indirect talks betwen Israel and Palestinians will resume.
Ofir Gendelman, the Israeli prime minister’s spokesman for the Arab world, said operations in Gaza were a victory for Israel. “Hamas gave in and accepted the same Egyptian proposal for a ceasefire it rejected until now. The reason for the change … airstrikes,” he said.
For the past eight weeks, Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip with the declared aim of halting rocket fire from the Palestinian territory.
Since hostilities first erupted on June 7, at least 2139 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed and nearly 11,000 injured, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
Thousands of homes, meanwhile, have been partially or completely destroyed by devastating Israeli bombardments.
Over the same period, at least 69 Israelis – 64 soldiers and five civilians – have been killed, according to Israeli figures.
The number of Palestinian fatalities from Israel’s current offensive has now surpassed the combined death toll from two previous operations against Gaza, including Israel’s bloody “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008/09 in which at least 1500 Palestinians were killed over the course of three weeks. (T/P3/P2)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)