Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet agreed to a unilateral ceasefire Thursday in its conflict with Gaza, according to Israeli media.
The move comes one day after President Joe Biden told Netanyahu that he expected “a significant de-escalation” Wednesday. That same day, Netanyahu publicly rebuffed the president’s push and declared he was “determined” to continue the operation “until its aim” was “met,” the Associated Press reported at the time.
The Israeli government announced the agreement to the truce and a senior Hamas official confirmed the reports over the phone, The New York Times reported. Despite this, sirens from Israeli towns bordering the Gaza Strip could still be heard following the announcement, the NYT added.
The Israeli Security Cabinet reportedly came to the ceasefire agreement after two and a half hours of discussions, Gili Cohen, a diplomatic correspondent for KANN, tweeted.
Israeli security cabinet approves #Gaza ceasefire, after 2.5 hours discussion
— Gili Cohen (@gilicohen10) May 20, 2021
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office announces cease-fire in Gaza operation.
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) May 20, 2021
This is an Egyptian-mediated proposal and negotiations on when it will take affect are ongoing, according to the Associated Press, which cited a statement from Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet. The statement noted that “the political leaders emphasized that the reality on the ground will be that which determines the future of the campaign.”
“Multiple reports said the truce was to go into effect at 2 a.m., just over three hours after the cabinet’s decision,” the AP reported.
The NYT reported that the ceasefire will take effect as of Friday morning and cited officials on both sides of the conflict.
The White House has not yet commented on the ceasefire. Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted he has seen reports of a ceasefire but couldn’t confirm them. Blinken added that he “plans to call his counterpart as soon as he gets back on the plane,” according to CBS News correspondent Christina Ruffini. (RELATED: ‘Dead On Arrival’: Psaki Claims Trump Didn’t Do ‘Anything Constructive’ In The Middle East)
The ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict has sparked a rift between Democrats, some of whom are condemning the president for supporting the country. Biden has shown long-standing support for Israel and White House press secretary Jen Psaki didn’t directly respond Wednesday when asked if the president denounced comments against the country.
“I think we have a responsibility here to speak about this as the issue that it is, which is a conflict that is killing people in a region and our efforts to bring that to an end,” Psaki said. “The president doesn’t see this through the prism of domestic politics, he sees this through the prism of what role the United States can play as a leader in the global community to engage in quiet, intensive diplomacy to bring an end to the suffering and the tragedy on the ground.”
This is a breaking report and will be updated.