The ceasefire is likely to take effect within hours, subject to understandings reached through mediation with the Egyptians.
By World Israel News Staff
Israel’s security cabinet unanimously approved a ceasefire late Thursday evening, after 11 days of fighting the Hamas terror organization in Gaza.
Proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, the ceasefire will likely take effect immediately, subject to understandings reached through mediation with the Egyptians.
The Security Cabinet, “unanimously accepted the recommendation of all of the security officials, the IDF Chief-of-Staff, the head of the ISA, the head of the Mossad and the head of the National Security Council to accept the Egyptian initiative for a mutual ceasefire without pre-conditions, to take effect at a time to be determined,” the Prime Minister’s Office announced.
“The IDF Chief-of-Staff, the military and the head of the ISA briefed ministers on Israel’s significant achievements in the operation, some of which are unprecedented,” the announcement said.
Israel has updated Egypt on the decision.
According to sources who attended the cabinet meeting, the IDF will immediately cease its attacks in the Gaza Strip, the Hebrew-language N12 news site reported. If Hamas continues to fire rockets, however, the IDF return the fire and the ceasefire will be canceled.
Cabinet ministers said that they received a proposal that was in fact approved even before the discussion was held, the N12 report said. Ministers were informed that the time indicated for the start of the ceasefire was 2 a.m. Friday morning, as confirmed by a Hamas source later.
“We approved a mutual ceasefire with Israel,” Hamas announced.
The announcement comes amid intense fighting. Sirens went off in southern Israeli communities Thursday evening due to heavy rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. Earlier in the day, an IDF bus was hit by an anti-tank missile near the Gaza border. The bus was empty, but a soldier standing nearby was lightly injured.
Upon hearing news of the ceasefire, Simcha Goldin, father of IDF soldier Hadar Goldin, whose body has been held by Hamas since 2014, said the prime minister “should stop playing with the feelings of the families and bring the soldiers back.”
“The contempt for the families of the warriors crosses all boundaries and all the responsibility lies on their shoulders. We demand immediate answers,” Goldin declared.
His wife Leah Goldin had demanded there be no ceasefire until her son’s body is returned home. Hamas has also refused to return that of IDF soldier Oron Shaul as well as two mentally challenged Israelis who inintentionally wandered into the Gaza Strip seven years ago.
U.S. President Joe Biden has been pressuring Netanyahu to de-escalate.
Since the start of the IDF’s “Operation Guardian of the Walls,” Gaza terror groups have fired more than 4,000 rockets at Israel.