After 11 days of airstrikes between Israel and Hamas, a ceasefire between the parties has finally arrived. UN Secretary-General António Guterres hailed the brand-new truce and pointedly congratulated Egypt and Qatar for their mediations in the de-escalation process.
“I welcome the ceasefire between #Gaza and #Israel. I extend my deepest condolences to the victims of violence and their loved ones. I commend Egypt & Qatar for efforts in close contact with UN to help restore calm. The work of building #Palestine can start,” said Gueterres, who also urged Israeli and Palestinian authorities to address the conflict through serious dialogue.
“I emphasize that Israeli and Palestinian leaders have a responsibility beyond restoring calm to begin a serious dialogue to address the root causes of the conflict. Gaza is an integral part of the future Palestinian state and no effort should be spared to achieve genuine national reconciliation to end the division,” he explained.
Biden tries to take credit for the ceasefire
Before the cease-fire was made official, U.S. President Joe Biden appeared to be trying to take credit for the de-escalation despite the fact that neither the UN nor media reports place the U.S. among the protagonists of the negotiations.
“Over the last 11 days, I spoke with the prime minister six times. I’ve also spoken with President Abbas and the Palestinian Authority more the once and part of our intense diplomatic engagement” President Biden explained, “And I want to also thank secretary of state, the secretary of defense, our national security adviser, and everyone on our team for their incredible efforts to bring this about, this outcome that we’re about to see.”
“You know, we’ve held intensive, high-level discussions, hour by hour, literally, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and other Middle Eastern countries, with an aim of avoiding this sort of prolonged conflict we’ve seen in previous years when the hostilities have broken out,” he added.
The president also described as “critical” the contribution of the Egyptian authorities to the de-escalation process.
The Biden administration during the conflict pressed and urged the parties to negotiate “peace.”
The president’s critics took aim at his administration in recent weeks for the return of war in the Middle East. Many conservatives on social media recalled that, during the Trump era, Hamas and Israel did not exchange missiles; moreover, multiple historic peace agreements were reached between Arab nations and Israel.
The inbalance of the conflict is undoubtedly tragic. In Israel, 12 civilians were killed, including two children. In the Gaza Strip, some 232 people were killed, including 65 children, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-controlled area. The Israeli army did not directly deny the information, but did report that “more than 200 terrorists were killed in the offensive”.
This was the most serious conflict between Israel and Hamas terrorists since 2014, when a Democratic president was also in the White House.