Cease-fire still holding in conflict - The Behrend Beacon

Cease-fire still holding in conflict

Posted on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 8:45 PM

Author: Sierra Birx (news editor)

As Behrend students were beginning to wind down and start Thanksgiving break, Israel and Gaza were locked in the middle of a deadly conflict. This conflict, lasting eight days, saw the death of 139 Palestinians and five Israelis.

This region of the world has been on the edge of conflict for most of the existence of Israel and Gaza, and on Nov. 14, the fighting flared up once again. The conflict started when Israeli forces assassinated the head of Hamas’ military, Ahmed al Ja’abari, in Gaza. They aimed at taking out terrorist organizations during a precise airstrike, according to CNN. Israel’s goal was to stop attacks across the border by Palestinians in Gaza.

“They wanted to destroy the infrastructure of the resistance of Hamas. They claim they have done so, and they have not,” said Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal, according to CNN.

After days of Gazan airstrikes on suburbs of Jerusalem and Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians, the fighting was ended by a truce at 2 p.m. EST on Nov. 21.

The cease-fire agreement came the day after Secretary of State Hilary Clinton landed in Israel, the West Bank, and Egypt. While switching from place to place, she started peace talks with all those involved, despite a bus attack in Tel Aviv which occurred during the talks. To Gazans, the cease-fire is thought of as a military victory over Israel as Israel agreed to stop all acts of aggression against Gaza.

Israelis, though, feel it is a victory for them, as the agreement means that Gaza will stop firing rockets and taking part in attacks across the border.

“For us, that’s victory. That’s what we wanted,” said Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev. 

The most damage done by the eight day conflict was the death of more than 140 civilians, most of which were Palestinian. 

“Innocent people, including children, have been killed or injured on both sides. Families on both sides were forced to cower in fear as the violence raged around them,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who visited Egypt on Nov. 19 and left Tel Aviv the night the cease-fire took effect. 

While this temporary cease-fire is still holding, both Palestinians and Israel are wary of further attacks leading to the need for a more permanent agreement that attempts to resolve long-running conflicts.

“Once calm is fully restored and the violence ends, a broader cease-fire will have to address all the underlying causes of conflict including the full opening of crossings, Palestinian reconciliation and an end to weapons smuggling,” Ban said.

Both Israel and Gaza are ready and willing to start up the fighting again if these dividing issues are not soon resolved.