May 13, 2023 - World

Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza agree to cease-fire

Palestinians inspect a building destroyed Israeli strikes on May 13 in Gaza City. Photo:  Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Palestinians inspect a building destroyed by Israeli air strikes on May 13. Photo: Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group on Saturday agreed to an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire in Gaza that began at 10 pm local time, the Egyptian government said.

Why it matters: The cease-fire ends five days of fighting that killed more than 30 Palestinians, at least half of them civilians, and one Israeli civilian.

  • The Palestinian Islamic Jihad fired more than 1,000 rockets toward Israel, while the Israeli military conducted several rounds of air strikes on Gaza that killed multiple PIJ senior commanders and civilians.

Driving the news: The cease-fire includes a commitment by both parties to halt all hostilities and refrain from targeting civilians, destroying homes and targeting individuals, the Egyptian government said.

  • The PIJ sees this as a commitment to stop the targeted killing of its commanders, but Israeli officials stressed they did not agree to end such killings in the future.
  • The proposal was accepted after three Egyptian-led attempts to reach a truce failed in previous days. Both sides confirmed they had agreed to the terms of the proposal.
  • The Egyptian government is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the cease-fire, according to the agreement.

Between the lines: The cease-fire is extremely fragile because the PIJ's command and control were significantly eroded after Israel killed six of its senior-most commanders.

State of play: Just before the cease-fire came into effect, the PIJ fired a barrage of rockets toward Israel and the IDF retaliated with airstrikes.

  • The Israeli Prime Minister's Office said in a statement that national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi "made it clear that Israel's acceptance of the Egyptian initiative means that 'quiet will be met with quiet', and that if Israel is attacked or threatened, it will continue to do everything that it needs to in order to defend itself."
  • The Palestinian armed factions in Gaza said in a joint statement after the cease-fire was announced that they finished the military campaign united and warned Israel not to resume the targeted killings "because we stay with our finger on the trigger."

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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