REUTERS, CNN, HAARETZ (Israel), DAILY STAR (Lebanon)
CAIRO - Israel and Hamas agreed to an Egyptian-sponsored ceasefire Wednesday evening to halt an eight-day conflict that killed more than 140 Palestinians in Gaza and five Israelis, Reuters reported.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Mohamed Kamel Amr made the announcement in a joint news conference in Cairo with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
"Egypt has made great efforts since the start of the latest escalation in the Gaza Strip," Amr said, according to Israeli daily Haaretz. "These efforts and contacts have resulted in understandings to ceasefire and restore calm and halt the bloodshed that the last period has seen."
Clinton added: "The people of this region deserve to live without fear. There is no alternative for comprehensive and just peace."
Clinton and Netanyahu (Office of Secretary of State)
In recent days, polls of Israelis have shown overwhelming support for the air strikes inside of Gaza. A terrorist bomb attack on a bus earlier in the day in Tel Aviv, which injured 17 people, had threatened to derail truce talks that had been ongoing for the past several days. But negotiations continued until the ceasefire went into effect at 9 p.m. local time.
Here was one instant reaction from Israel to the news of the deal:
Almost no one in Israel likes this cease fire idea.
— Elizabeth Tsurkov (@Elizrael) November 21, 2012
Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal said Israel's offensive had "failed in all its goals," the Beirut daily Daily Star reported. Though the truce was still holding at midnight local time, most observers say a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians remains as elusive as ever.