Israel, Gaza Quiet—for Now

With Gaza toll at 162, both sides call ceasefire a victory

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Nov 22, 2012 7:54 AM CST

(Newser) – Shortly after the Israel-Hamas ceasefire began last night, a dozen rockets hit Israel—but no one was hurt, and the ceasefire has otherwise held. Still, both sides remain wary, Reuters reports. "If Israel complies, we are compliant. If it does not comply, our hands are on the trigger," says Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal. Some 162 Palestinians were killed in the eight days of fighting, according to Gaza health officials; more than half were civilians. Hamas fired some 1,400 rockets into Israel, but Israel says it pummeled Gaza with 1,000 times the explosive power.

Hamas has dubbed today a national holiday for "the victory of the resistance," citing "a new formula: if you hit Gaza, we will hit Tel Aviv and beyond Tel Aviv." Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, however, calls the ceasefire "a paper bridge for the defeated so that they can explain to their public how they can even show their faces after what they were hit with for a week." The measures stipulate that Israel can't send ground troops or target specific militants in Gaza; for its part, Hamas must halt rocket attacks, the Washington Post reports. Neither side, however, can claim significant gains from the fighting, the Post notes. Meanwhile, some Israeli reservists seem poised to leave the Gaza border, though thousands are staying, the New York Times reports. Deployment decisions will come later today, the military says. Israeli schools within 25 miles of Gaza are still closed, but local life is slowly getting back to normal.

Palestinians celebrate what they call a victory over Israel, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012.
Palestinians celebrate what they call a victory over Israel, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants hold a press conference in Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012.
Palestinian Islamic Jihad militants hold a press conference in Gaza City, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
An Israeli soldier rests next to a mobile artillery vehicle at a staging area near the Israel Gaza Strip Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012.
An Israeli soldier rests next to a mobile artillery vehicle at a staging area near the Israel Gaza Strip Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 22, 2012.   (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)
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