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Gaza Live Coverage: A Ceasefire is Declared --- Now What?

See also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Pressure Builds On Assad
Wednesday's Gaza Live Coverage: Israel Rejects Ceasefire and Maintains Assault

1605 GMT: The Israeli Prime Minister's spokesman summarises Benjamin Netanyahu's statement of victory/defiance/warning this afternoon:

1516 GMT: An Israeli soldier has died of wounds from a rocket attack on Wednesday.

1358 GMT: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs updates its figures (see 1055 GMT) on casualties in Gaza:

The OCHA's summary of almost 2/3 of deaths as those of civilians is markedly different from the claim of the Israel Defense Forces, which has claimed 120 of the 177 killed were Gazan fighters.

1350 GMT: Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has used a press conference to claim victory and thank Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as a "believer".

Haniyeh also thanked those who provided Gaza with weapons, "especially Iran".

The Prime Minister jabbed at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying he "misread the strategic circumstances" in launching an attack "in a changing region being liberated from pro-Israel regimes".

1250 GMT: Ben Wedeman sees a powerful message in this image from Gaza:

1234 GMT: Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas phoned him to give congratulations on victory and extend condolences to the families of those killedin the conflict.

1210 GMT: Thousands of Palestinians are in a "victory rally" in Gaza -- both the yellow flag of Fatah and the green flag of Hamas can be seen:

1055 GMT: The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that, as of 12 p.m. on Wednesday, 90 Gazan civilians had been killed and about 1200 wounded.

The dead include 26 children and 12 women.

The report said 4 Israelis had been killed and 219 injured.

0942 GMT: A photograph from Tal Schneider, via fellow journalist Elizabeth Tsurkov, which claims to show Israeli soldiers sending a pointed message to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

Al Jazeera English are reporting similar hostility to the ceasefire amongst residents of Ashkelon in southern Israel: "People were saying that Netanyahu had a choice between war and selling out --- he chose selling out....Many people [are] upset about what they called the first time that Hamas gotten more out of the deal than Israel. "

0935 GMT: The Israeli newspaper Maariv publishes the claims of troops that they were twice given the order to enter Gaza but were called back at the last moment.

Soldiers in the Nahal Brigade said that on Monday night they were told to move, and had even opened border gates, when a counter-order was issued halting the invasion for a further 24 hours.

“Since Saturday we were twice ordered to gear up and told that we are going in, and then we were called back to Israel,” one of the soldiers said. “It’s like crying ‘wolf,’” he said. “After a few of those you no longer believe it. They have to decide already — will they send us in or release us?”

0910 GMT: The high point of CNN's coverage of the Gaza War? Wolf Blitzer asks Israeli President Shimon Peres, "Is there one piece of advice for our viewers [on] how you have managed to stay so youthful, so energetic, so alert all of these years?"

0820 GMT: A CNN interview with Khaled Meshaal, the political director of Hamas, backs up our analysis that --- while the Gazan organisation will not renounce Tehran --- it has distanced itself from the Islamic Republic as it diversifies its political and military links:

AMANPOUR: Therefore, you must have broken with Iran, as well, because Iran supports the president of Syria and his policies.

Have you distanced yourself from Iran?

MESHAAL: No. You see, the relationship with Iran is present. But, yes, it was affected and harmed by our di -- our disagreement about Syria.

It is not as it used to be in the past, but there is no severing of --- of relations. But it is different according to the circumstances. The Syrian crisis impacted our relationship with the Iranians.

But we still have Iran in relationship in other fields.

AMANPOUR: You have received Iranian long range missiles. The Fajr missiles have come through. Are you still getting missiles from Iran into Gaza?

MESHAAL: Hamas, as a movement of resistance...for a people living under occupation, we see, not just wait, to get support, financial support, military support, political support from all over the world, from all the states in the world.

Everyone [is giving us support, whether it's from Iran or Europe, from anywhere.

(Cross-posted from Iran Live Coverage)

0812 GMT: Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon sets the moral standard for the Israeli attacks, “If you compare the situation in Gaza to the situation in Syria today where the Assad regime just mercilessly butchers people and children, there is a big difference. I would say that most of the people that were hit in Gaza deserved it as they were just armed terrorists.”

0809 GMT: A snapshot from Chris McGreal of The Guardian:

0758 GMT: There might be a ceasefire in Gaza, but Israeli military operations continue in the West Bank --- Harriet Sherwood of The Guardian writes:

0750 GMT: It looks like one outcome of the crisis will be a significant boost in the stature of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi as a desired partner in the Middle East. A New York Times story profiles the US attitude:

Mr. Obama talked with Mr. Morsi three times within 24 hours and six times over the course of several days, an unusual amount of one-on-one time for a president. Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology. Most important, Mr. Obama told aides that he considered Mr. Morsi a straight shooter who delivered on what he promised and did not promise what he could not deliver.

“The thing that appealed to the president was how practical the conversations were — here’s the state of play, here are the issues we’re concerned about,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. “This was somebody focused on solving problems.”

0530 GMT: After a week of fighting in which more than 162 Gazans and five Israelis were killed, the two sides agreed on Wednesday night to a ceasefire in which Israel would stop airstrikes and assassinations and Gazan forces would halt rocket launches. If the cessation holds, then Israeli and Egyptian border crossings, which have sealed off Gaza for years, will be opened tonight for movement of people and goods.

So far the ceasefire has held, with only a flutter when the Israelis claimed and Hamas denied that 12 rockets had been fired.

Attention will now turn to the post-conflict politics. Unsurprisingly, all sides claimed "victory" in speeches last night. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the military said they had "destroyed significant elements of Hamas' strategic capabilities", including hundreds of rocket launchers and dozens of smuggling tunnels. Hamas political director Khaled Meshaal said Israel had "failed in all its goals" and had been "compelled to submit to the conditions of the resistance".

An immediate test will come, far from the battlefield, in New York within days. The Palestinian Authority is approaching the United Nations General Assembly to ask for designation as an Observer State, the closest Palestine has come to recognition since the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Will Hamas be able to support the PA, its long-standing rival, in the effort? Does West Jerusalem, having used its weaponry, have any political capital to counter the effort?

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