Israel has started a unilateral ceasefire in Gaza, three weeks after launching a full-scale assault against Hamas.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Israel had achieved its goals and he declared Hamas had been defeated
Olmert offered this apology:
“We genuinely never wanted to cause any discomfort, to attack any uninvolved civilians in Gaza. We regret very much the fact that there were so many who in spite of the genuine efforts made by the Israeli Army suffered from this confrontation
Israel’s violent assault on Gaza began on December the twenty seventh and since then nearly 1,200 Palestinians have been killed.
Thirteen Israelis have died.
For now the guns and explosions have mostly fallen silent, but Hamas says it,s war is not over until the last Israeli soldier has left Gaza.
Hamas representatives have been taking part in talks in Cairo, brokered by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, aimed at reaching a bilateral deal.
And today Egypt is hosting summit, attended by the UN Secretary General and several EU leaders, aimed at securing a permanent truce.
Hamas has continued to fire some rcckets after the ceasefire. Sderot in Israel was hit.
Israel says if the rockets continue it would respond with force.
It’s a peace of sorts, but even that is extremely fragile.