Earlier on Thursday afternoon, the Israeli cabinet reportedly confirmed the decision to approve a ceasefire.
“The Security Cabinet convened tonight,” read the Israeli security cabinet’s statement. “The Political Security Cabinet unanimously accepted the recommendation of all security officials, the chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet [internal security agency], the head of the Mossad [foreign intelligence] and the head of the National Security Council, to accept the Egyptian initiative for a bilateral unconditional ceasefire, which will take effect at a later date.”
“The chief of staff, the military echelon and the head of the GSS reviewed before the ministers Israel’s great achievements in the campaign, some of which were unprecedented,” the statement added. “The political echelon emphasizes that the reality on the ground will determine the continuation of the campaign.”
Minutes after the ceasefire was confirmed by Israel, the BBC reported that — according to Israeli military — warning sirens indicated that rockets had been fired from Gaza, with Palestinian groups claiming that airstrikes from Israel had continued.
“Egyptian President Sisi has ordered two security delegations into Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories to work towards upholding the ceasefire, according to Egyptian state TV,” added the BBC.
The Associated Press, whose offices in Gaza allegedly shared a building with Hamas, reported that a Hamas official claimed that the “ceasefire announced by Israel amounts to a ‘victory’ for the Palestinian people and a defeat for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.”
“Ali Barakeh said Hamas militants would remain on alert until mediators have been in touch to finalise the details of the truce,” the BBC noted.
The Times of Israel reported that “Right-wing lawmakers, including some of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s close political allies, warned him on Thursday against a ceasefire with Hamas as Israel and the terror group closed in on an agreement to end 11 days of fighting.”
New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar rejected the proposals.
“The cessation of Israeli military activity without imposing any restrictions preventing the arming and strengthening of Hamas and without the return of the soldiers and civilians held in Gaza will be a political failure, the price of which will be paid, with interest, in the future,” said Sa’ar, according to the Times of Israel. According to the Netanyahu critic, a ceasefire “would seriously harm Israeli deterrence” against terrorist organizations like Hamas.
Others added further criticism, such as Yisrael Beytenu chair Avigdor Liberman, who said, “The one who nurtured Hamas and enabled it to get to where it is today is Netanyahu.”
According to Reuters, “Israel and Hamas will cease fire across the Gaza Strip border as of Friday, the Palestinian Islamist faction and Egyptian state TV.” The Associated Press reported, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal after a late-night meeting of his Security Cabinet. Hamas quickly followed suit and said it would honor the deal.”
According to the AP, the truce is expected to take effect at 2 a.m.