Americans for Peace Now – like millions of Israelis and Palestinians, and others worldwide – is anxiously hoping that Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip will follow Israel’s suit and accept the Egyptian-proposed ceasefire agreement. The agreement was proposed Monday night. Israel’s government welcomed it last night, and officially accepted it today at a Cabinet meeting, and held its fire by 9:00 AM local time (2:00 AM Eastern time), but a barrage of rockets from Gaza continued. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad intensified their rocket fire, arguing that Egypt announced the ceasefire without consulting with their leadership. In response, Israel too resumed fire and continued bombing the Gaza Strip.
We hope that Hamas and other Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip will accept the ceasefire, stop its rocket attacks on Israel and thus prevent further escalation.
Washington, DC – Americans for Peace Now (APN) welcomes news of a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt’s government. APN urges both Israel and Hamas to adhere to the ceasefire and to find ways to prevent future security escalations such as the current one. APN further urges Israelis, Palestinians and the Obama administration to resume diplomatic efforts to return to the negotiating table in order to achieve a viable, lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement with security for both sides.
APN's President and CEO Debra DeLee said: "Once again, following unnecessary bloodshed, destruction, terror and pain, Israel and Hamas chose diplomacy - the same kind of diplomacy that we at APN have been urging. This devastation, and the long-term impact it has on Israelis and Palestinians alike, can be obviated if both sides choose diplomacy now to pave the road for future Israeli-Palestinian peace.
"While we welcome the ceasefire agreement, we caution all parties involved - as we have in the past - that a ceasefire cannot be an end in itself. For this ceasefire to not turn into just another intermission between rounds of violence, it must be harnessed to a diplomatic process that addresses the underlying causes of conflict.
"We are grateful to the government of Egypt for brokering the draft ceasefire agreement. We mourn the lives of innocent civilians lost in the recent hostilities, on both sides of the Israel-Gaza divide, and wish a quick recovery to those who were injured. We hope that civilians on both sides will quickly rebuild their lives and their homes. More than anything, we hope that Israeli and Palestinian leaders will find the courage and wisdom to pivot from death and violence to building. We hope they build a political horizon for their respective publics by re-launching a credible peace process.”