Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas agreed to an Egyptian-mediated cease-fire. Hamas, which took control of the Gaza Strip last year, said it will cease rocket attacks on Israel, and Israel reportedly agreed to lift its blockade of Gaza. "We are hopeful this will usher in a new era of calm," said a spokesman for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. (Bloomberg)
What the commentators said
This deal could mark a “big step,” said Alex Ely in Foreign Policy’s Passport blog. But “the most interesting question now is how Washington will react.” It’s hard to see how the U.S. can “really facilitate a peace deal” without inviting the group Palestinians voted into office.
The “first question” isn’t whether the quiet will last, said Dion Nissenbaum in McClatchy Newspapers’ Checkpoint Jerusalem blog, but “will it take hold” at all. Israel still has to decide what to do next. “With details still emerging, it seems that the agreement could hit a fatal turning point pretty quickly.”
“The next 24-48 hours will be crucial and tense,” said Daniel Levy in TalkPointsMemo’s TPMCafe blog, “and will determine whether the cease-fire even begins let alone holds. Both sides will want to go into any de-escalation from a position of perceived strength and as having the upper hand, especially for mutual domestic marketing purposes. So both sides can be expected to try one last push, one last strike in the coming hours.”