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Gaza ceasefire holds as both sides weigh gains

Gaza ceasefire holds as both sides weigh gains

PanARMENIAN.Net - An open-ended ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip was holding Wednesday, Aug 27, as many people on both sides of the conflict wondered what was gained during 50 days of fighting, the Associated Press reports.

The Gaza war — the 3rd round of fighting since the Islamic militant group Hamas seized power in 2007 — left more than 2,200 people dead, caused widespread destruction in the densely populated coastal territory, and paralyzed large parts of southern Israel during much of the summer.

Early Wednesday the Israeli military said there were no reports of violations since the ceasefire went into effect at 7 pm (1600 GMT) Tuesday.

Israeli media reported that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had deliberately not put the ceasefire to a vote in his security Cabinet because of opposition from ministers who wanted to continue the fighting.

Tourism Minister Uzi Landau, a longstanding security hawk, lambasted the Israeli leadership in comments to Israel Radio early Wednesday for "wanting peace at any price," an approach that he said would undermine Israel's ability to deter militants.

In Gaza, life was slowly returning to normal Wednesday, as traffic policemen took up their positions in streets overwhelmed by vehicles transporting thousands of people back to the homes they had abandoned during the fighting. Harried utility crews struggled to repair electricity and water infrastructure damaged by weeks of Israeli airstrikes, the AP says.

Some Gaza residents expressed optimism that Egyptian-brokered talks scheduled to go forward in Cairo in the coming weeks will ultimately result in realizing the key Hamas demand of opening a seaport and airport in the territory.

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