|Follow us on:|
The ceasefire, designed to give “much-needed reprieve” to the civilian residents of Gaza, will go into effect at 8am Tel Aviv time on Friday.
“We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian cease-fire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire,” said a statement from the US State Department delegation accompanying Secretary of State John Kerry in New Delhi.
However, at press time, Israel had not yet officially responded to the ceasefire announcement, despite UN officials saying they had received assurances from all sides that they will abide by it.
The announcement came less than four hours after the 15 members of the UN Security Council expressed “grave disappointment” that earlier calls for a halt to hostilities had been ignored.
The 15-member Council said in a statement early Monday that it strongly urged for warring parties to reach “an immediate and unconditional humanitarian cease-fire” in Gaza … that would allow for the delivery of “urgently needed assistance”.
Middle East experts said the 72-hour time-frame was designed to allow negotiations between the West Bank’s Fatah organization, Hamas, Israel, the US and UN in Egypt.