The United States and Israel have signed a deal to stop the smuggling of weapons into Gaza from Egypt. The U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said the agreement ultimately would contribute towards a “durable ceasefire.”
Israel has indicated that its military offensive is its final act and this so-called “memorandum of understanding” is thought to be a crucial step towards it agreeing to the terms of the Egyptian peace plan. Under the deal, Israeli officials say, the United States will lead a campaign with its NATO allies to intercept weapons shipments bound for Gaza from Iran and elsewhere. The UN says tunnels between Gaza and Egypt have become a vital lifeline because of Israel’s tight blockade.