Middle East conflict: Israelis and Palestinians apparently agree on ceasefire


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Status: 05/13/2023 9:04 p.m

Israel and militant Palestinians have apparently agreed on a ceasefire, mediated by Egypt – it hadn’t looked like it lately. There is no confirmation from the Israeli side yet.

According to a report by Egyptian television, Israel and militant Palestinians have agreed on a ceasefire. This should start at 10 p.m. local time (9 p.m. German time), reported the broadcaster Al-Kahera.

Two Palestinian officials confirmed the report. Accordingly, both sides agreed to an Egyptian mediation proposal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not yet commented.

According to media reports based on Egyptian and Israeli sources, the two sides have now reached an agreement to stop attacking homes or civilians.

truce seemed unlikely

Israel had previously ruled out a rapid ceasefire with the extremist group Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip. The reason: First, the militants must stop firing rockets at Israel, said national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, stressing that no ceasefire talks were being held. Israel’s top priority at the moment is fighting the jihadists.

And on the other side, there was no sign of a ceasefire either: Islamic Jihad announced that it would continue to fire rockets. “The resistance has been preparing for a months-long confrontation,” it said in a statement.

The bloodshed must stop, demanded Foreign Minister Baerbock and her counterparts.

Egypt in intermediary role

Shortly after the violence erupted, Egypt – as it has done so often – acted as a mediator. According to the army, there was already a kind of unofficial declaration of a ceasefire on Wednesday, which Israel also adhered to – until rockets were flown out of the Gaza Strip again. Egypt called on both sides to stick to the latest agreement.

Air alert in Israel

Since dawn, fighters from the organization had been firing rockets. In Israel, air alerts had been raised in areas close to the border. A Palestinian worker was killed by rocket splinters, according to a hospital spokesman.

People in the Gaza Strip after an air raid.

At least 33 Palestinians and two people have been killed in Israel since fighting broke out on Tuesday after Israeli forces targeted the killing of two Islamic Jihad commanders. Israel accuses the Iran-backed group of planning attacks.

Israel and Palestinians seek ceasefire, but mutual attacks continue.

Islamic Jihad rejects coexistence with Israel

Islamic Jihad, the largest armed group in Gaza after Hamas, has so far fired over 1,000 rockets. Like Hamas, Islamic Jihad rejects coexistence with Israel and wants the destruction of the Jewish state.

In turn, leading ministers of the religious-nationalist Israeli government reject the establishment of a Palestinian state and call for the expansion of Israel’s territory in the West Bank. The organization, which is closely linked to Israel’s archenemy Iran, is classified as a terrorist organization by the EU and the USA.

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