Guns went quiet as a six-month truce between Israel and Gaza Strip militants took effect early today, despite widespread skepticism about its longevity. If the quiet holds, Israel will ease its blockade on Sunday to allow larger shipments of some supplies. A week later Israel is to further ease restrictions at cargo crossings, which in recent months have been closed to all but humanitarian aid and limited fuel supplies.
In a final stage, negotiators are to tackle Hamas' demand to reopen a major border passage between Gaza and Egypt and Israel's insistence that Hamas release an Israeli soldier it has held for two years. The ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, aims to end a year of fighting that has killed seven Israelis and more than 400 Palestinians since the Hamas wrested control of Gaza a year ago.