It is now official following the press conference in Cairo with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. There is a great deal of speculation surrounding the details of the ceasefire, but until the 8:30PM Israel time press conference in Israel, all the reports remain in the realm of speculation.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are expected to address the nation. At that time we will know the major points of the ceasefire.
For now, Channel 2 TV News reports that the ceasefire will be for two periods, the first being 24 hours followed by 48 hours. If the ceasefire holds up, then there will be continued dialogue towards a long term agreement.
Speaking to the media following the Cairo press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom explained that Hamas was hit hard and now we can hope there will be a true ceasefire. Shalom explain that from his perspective the ceasefire will be measured by the response to the “first Kassam or mortar shell”, for he explained following Operation Cast Lead there were rocket attacks and they were basically ignored until the situation deteriorated to the present one. As such explains Shalom, there must be a zero tolerance to any and all attacks from over the border to Gaza and Israel cannot accept any exceptions. “We must bring a total and absolute end to the Red Alerts. It is as simple as that” the senior minister said.
For now, with a bit over an hour to the ceasefire, sirens are wailing throughout southern Israel.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)