Tag Archives: Ceasefire

Report: Yemenis Agree to Ceasefire, Peace Talks

by Jason Ditz

Reports from pro-Saudi Yemeni officials suggest that both they and the Shi’ite Houthis they’ve been fighting since last year’s Saudi attack have agreed to a ceasefire for “a week or two” in anticipation of peace talks to be held in April.

Details are still scant, but the UN has reportedly been informed of the planned talks, and they are to be hosted in Kuwait. It is unclear so far if the Saudi coalition is included in the truce, or simply their Yemeni allies.

Previous proposals for talks had stalled on demands from the pro-Saudi faction that the Houthis agree to unilaterally disarm and surrender all of their territory. Though it seems unlikely to be the case, the pro-Saudi officials claimed that the Houthis have agreed to do so this time around, and that they agreed to the ceasefire to show “good intentions.”

The Saudis attacked Yemen in late March 2015, vowing to reinstall President Hadi in power. Hadi was installed for a two-year term in office in 2012, and resigned in January 2015, long after that term was supposed to be over. Despite this, Saudi officials insist he is the rightful ruler of Yemen.

Extended cease-fire reached in Gaza, officials say

After more than 2,000 people have died, and numerous bombs and rockets have been fired from both sides, officials are saying leaders from Israel and Hamas have reached an extended cease-fire agreement in Gaza.

“Israel has once again accepted an Egyptian proposal for a complete cease-fire,” a senior Israeli official said, according to the New York Times.  “This cease-fire is unlimited in time.”  The official in question spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Even though the two sides agreed to a brokered cease-fire through Egypt, Hamas declared the end of the conflict a victory, according to TIME.  “We are here today,” said Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in a news conference at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital, “to declare the victory of the resistance, the victory of Gaza, with the help of God, and the steadfastness of our people and the noble resistance.”

According to reports, Hamas initially said they would only agree to a cease-fire if the blockade on Gaza, which was imposed by Israel and Egypt in 2007 after Hamas seized the area, was lifted.  However, as the violence has continued to escalate over the past seven weeks, Hamas rocket caches are reportedly down to one third of what they were at the start of the conflict, while Israel has claimed to have destroyed the majority of Hamas’ military tunnel system.

FOX News reports the blockade on Gaza will not be lifted, but Israel and Egypt will ease the blockade to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza as well as construction material to abet the war-torn territory.

Peace talks will continue to take place in Egypt, and discussions on key issues, including Hamas’ demand to end the blockade and Israel’s call to disarm Hamas, will begin within a month.

The cease-fire will take effect Tuesday at 7 p.m. local time.

As fighting continues in Gaza, airstrikes kill Hamas leader’s wife and child

After a week-long ceasefire was called as leaders from Hamas and Israel met in Cairo, Egypt, to hold peace-talks, air strikes have resumed and claimed the lives of over 19 Palestinians, including the wife and child of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif.

Hamas has said in a televised address the attack was an assassination attempt on the life of Deif.  Instead, the attack claimed the life of his wife, Wedad, and their 7-month-old son Ali, but Deif was not present with them at the time.

Both were laid to rest after a day of mourning on Tuesday where, according to the Guardian, hundreds of supporters showed up to offer their condolences to those killed and their families.

While Israeli security forces and politicians have not commented on the attack, they have said, according to the Wall Street Journal, Deif is indeed a target and has been for some time.  Deif has been severely handicapped from past assassination attempts from Israeli forces, and it seems Israel will continue to make attempts on his life.

Israeli Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich has said, “There is definitely room to strike the leaders of Hamas… and if Mohammed Deif is among them, we will continue to strike them, wherever they are.”

Ceasefires have been called and broken in Gaza as Israeli and Hamas forces have fought a six-week conflict which has claimed, according to the BBC, the lives of over 2,100 Palestinians and injured at least another 10,000, while 67 Israelis have been killed.

The latest ceasefire was broken after three rockets were reportedly fired from Gaza and into Israel with no resulting injuries.  After these rockets were fired, the Israeli missile defense system known as Iron Dome, was reactivated and fighting commenced.  No Palestinian militant group has claimed responsibility for the three rockets fired as of now.

Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, has said the rockets which were fired broke the ceasefire agreement needed to hold the talks in Cairo, but now these talks must be cancelled.  “When Hamas breaks the ceasefire they also break the premise for the Cairo talk,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.  “Accordingly the Israeli team has been called back as a result of today’s rocket fire.”

Unconditional Ceasefire in Gaza Collapses into One of The Deadliest Days So Far

On Thursday, the United States and the United Nations announced that there would be a 72-hour unconditional humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, starting at 8 A.M. Friday.

Although the ceasefire was meant to last three days, it was only in place for two hours. The New York Times reported that, “the Israeli military announced that two soldiers had been killed and a third apparently captured by Palestinian militants who emerged from a tunnel near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

According to The Guardian, “Israeli tank fire on the southern town of Rafah was reported to have killed at least 40 Palestinians, turning what was intended to be the first day of calm into one of the deadliest days in Gaza so far.”

Hamas released a statement accusing Israel of breaking the ceasefire, and saying that the declaration of captured Israeli soldiers was meant to “cover up the barbaric massacres, especially in Rafah.”

A spokesman for the Israeli army, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, said that the missing soldier, who was identified as 23-year-old Second Lt. Hadar Goldin, was captured by Hamas militants while Israeli forces were working to destroy one of Hamas’s underground tunnels.

While Friday’s ceasefire was called for by the United Nations, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was not in favor. Netanyahu told UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon that calling a ceasefire in Gaza would meet the needs of Hamas, but not of Israel.

Last week, the Chairman of the Hamas Political Bureau, Khaled Meshaal, spoke out at a news conference in Qatar. “Everyone wanted us to accept a ceasefire and then negotiate for our rights,” said Meshaal. “We will not accept any initiative that does not lift the blockade on our people and that does not respect their sacrifices.

We need to be ready for a prolonged campaign,” Netanyahu said in a statement on Monday. Despite each ceasefire that has been called during the last three weeks, he has kept Israeli troops in Gaza, maintaining that they are there to destroy the network of tunnels built by Hamas.

As a result of this conflict, 62 Israeli soldiers, 3 Israeli civilians, 191 Palestinian militants, and 1,244 Palestinian civilians have lost their lives thus far.

Israel says its troops will not leave Gaza until they have demolished scores of Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border that militants use to infiltrate Israel and smuggle weapons,” reported The Washington Post. “Hamas says it will not cease fire until it receives international guarantees Gaza’s 7-year-old border blockade by Egypt and Israel will be lifted.