US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with her Egyptian counterpart about the truce between Israel and Hamas in Gaza Tuesday, as the sides continue to hash out the details of the deal less than a week after Hamas and Israel agreed to stop fighting.
According to the IDF’s southern command chief Maj.-Gen. Tal Russo, the ceasefire between the sides is holding well, despite nearly daily protests by Gazans at the border fence.
In a phone call between Washington and Cairo, Clinton and Mohamed Kamel Amr talked about the Egypt-mediated ceasefire that ended eight days of fighting between Hamas and Israel, Israel Radio reported. Egypt and the US had been the major mediators of the deal between Jerusalem and the terror group, which refuse to engage in direct talks.
Meanwhile, Russo told reporters he was pleased the Gaza Strip was “totally silent” in the days after Operation Pillar of Defense. Israel “expected the firing of rockets to continue in the first days, like it did after previous operations,” Russo said. “It appears the IDF achieved a very high [level of] deterrence,” but the real results can only be measured in the future, he noted. A number of rockets were fired in the immediate hours after the ceasefire went into effect, but stopped completely by the next day.
While the rockets have stopped, Gazans have massed at the border nearly daily to protest Israel’s closure of the Strip, with Israeli troops injuring a number of demonstrators who tried to damage the border fence. On Saturday, Hamas dispatched unarmed troops to keep protesters away from the fence.
One reason for the quiet was Hamas’s willingness to prevent the launching of rockets into Israel, Russo explained. “If they break the agreements our answers will be sharp and swift,” he said.
The details of the ceasefire, which is supposed to see Israel ease restrictions on entering and leaving the Strip, are still being worked out in Cairo.