Celebrations on the streets of Gaza after an Egypt-brokered ceasefire agreement is reached between Israel and the Palestinians. Gavino Garay reports.
(nat) Celebrations late into the night on the streets of Gaza..as news of an Egypt-brokered ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians began to spread.. (nat) The announcement came from Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PALESTINIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD ABBAS, SAYING: "I would like to announce the agreement of the Palestinian leadership to the invitation by our brotherly Egypt to a comprehensive and permanent ceasefire starting at 19:00 tonight local Cairo and Palestine time." For war-weary Palestinians in Gaza, it couldn't have come soon enough. For the past seven weeks Israel has bombarded Gaza in a military offensive aimed at stemming a stream of rocket fire from Hamas into its territory. More than 2,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have died as a result of airstrikes aimed at Hamas targets. But Israeli Spokesman Mark Regev says the death toll is the responsibility of Hamas. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER'S SPOKESPERSON MARK REGEV, SAYING: "Israel has accepted the Egyptian ceasefire proposal. We hope that this time the ceasefire will stick. And I think now as the dust will begin to clear many people will be asking, 'why is it that today Hamas accepted the very same Egyptian framework that it rejected a month ago. Ultimately, so much bloodshed could have been avoided." But Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri calls the ceasefire a "victory." (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) HAMAS SPOKESPERSON SAMI ABU ZUHRI, SAYING: "We are here today to announce Gaza's victory, we are here today to declare that we have won over this power, the destructive Israeli power. We won first and foremost thanks to God almighty second, thanks to the resilience of our people." Most immediately, the ceasefire calls for an end to the blockade of Gaza and the expansion of Palestinian fishing rights. But more importantly in the short term for residents, it also calls for an indefinite cessation of hostilities on both sides.