Israel And Palestinian Factions In Gaza Reach Tentative Cease-Fire Agreement
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
After a deadly weekend in Gaza and Israel, there appears to be a pause. Intense fighting in the last couple of days killed at least 23 Palestinians and four Israelis. Loveday Morris is the Jerusalem bureau chief covering the Middle East for The Washington Post, and she joins us from Jerusalem. I know it's late at night there, so thank you for taking the time today.
LOVEDAY MORRIS: Hi. No problem, Ari.
SHAPIRO: Tell us what we know about this reported cease-fire that was announced early this morning.
MORRIS: Well, what we know is it came into force at around 4:30 this morning after, as you said, one of the most - well, the most intense round of violence since sort of 2014 war between Israel and Hamas. It's Palestinian factions that are - they were putting the cease-fire. Israel now and in the past also has really refused to comment on the details of any truces or peace agreements that it has forged with Hamas.
SHAPIRO: There have been other peace deals in the last few months, and they seem not to have stuck. Do you expect this one will last any longer?
MORRIS: Right. And this is actually really at the crux of the flare-up, really. Hamas says that Israel is not sticking by the terms of those previous deals. It says that's why it, in fact, began launching these rockets over the weekend. So according to Hamas and Palestinians' factions, under previous deals, Israel's agreed to ease some of the restrictions on Gaza to let in Qatari money to ease the fishing restrictions. And it says Israel isn't doing that, and that's why it's launched this.
SHAPIRO: And now tell us a little bit more about the groups in Gaza that are at the center of this. You've mentioned Hamas and other Palestinian factions. Israel's Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said yesterday, Hamas bears responsibility not only for its own attacks and actions but also those by Islamic Jihad, for which it pays a very high price. Explain what he means by that.
MORRIS: Islamic Jihad is the second-largest faction in Gaza. It also has a large arsenal of rockets. It's backed by Iran. And the Israeli military really actually blames Islamic Jihad for instigating this last round of violence. Although it did say that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are coordinating, it sees Islamic Jihad as more of the agitator here.
SHAPIRO: So after hundreds of rockets and dozens of fatalities over the weekend, has anything really changed after this last round of attacks?
MORRIS: I mean, essentially not. I mean, we've seen flare-up after flare-up in the past. I mean, what was different was - with this one was definitely the intensity and the number of fatalities. But I think - I mean - and certainly we were down in the south of Israel today, and people are, I mean, really fed up of this cycle of violence. And it's the same, obviously, when you talk to civilians in Gaza. These flare-ups happen. People die. Cease-fires are brokered. But, you know, then it's a few months, and the cycle is repeated.
SHAPIRO: Loveday Morris is Jerusalem bureau chief covering the Middle East for The Washington Post. Thank you.
MORRIS: Thanks very much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.