Gaza Truce Takes Hold

Skeptics wary of future of the ceasefire
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 19, 2008 8:00 AM CDT
An Israeli soldier reads a newspaper as he sits on top of a tank at the Kissufim Crossing, on the border with the Gaza Strip, Thursday, June 19, 2008.   (AP Photo/Dan Balilty)
camera-icon View 4 more images

(Newser) – 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.