Israel, Hamas agree to cease-fire
Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease-fire on 20 May 2021, halting a bruising 11-day war that caused widespread destruction in the Gaza Strip, brought life in much of Israel to a standstill and left more than 200 people dead. Like the three previous wars between the bitter enemies, the latest round of fighting ended inconclusively.
- Israel claimed to inflict heavy damage on Hamas but once again was unable to halt the Islamic militant group’s nonstop rocket barrages.
- Hamas, the Islamic militant group sworn to Israel’s destruction, also claimed victory. But it now faces the daunting challenge of rebuilding in a territory already suffering from poverty, widespread unemployment and a raging coronavirus outbreak.
- Netanyahu’s office said his Security Cabinet had unanimously accepted an Egyptian cease-fire proposal after recommendations from Israel’s military chief and other top security officials.
- The fighting erupted on 10 May 2021, when Hamas militants in Gaza fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem. The barrage came after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
- Heavy-handed police tactics at the compound, built on a site holy to Muslims and Jews, and the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians by Jewish settlers had inflamed tensions.
- The competing claims to Jerusalem lie at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and have repeatedly triggered bouts of violence in the past.