WorldViews: Why ‘cease-fire’ is such a difficult word in the current Israel-Hamas conflict

By Adam Taylor, July 26, 2014

On Saturday, Israel and Hamas observed a 12-hour cease-fire, creating a brief respite in fighting in the Gaza Strip. Israel later announced that it had agreed to a four-hour extension of the pause.

In other conflicts, cease-fires are usually considered an informal agreement to stop fighting, often with the aim of figuring out a formal accord on a return to peace-time relations. This cease-fire isn't quite like that. It's a "humanitarian cease-fire," designed to give those living in Gaza's hardest hit areas some relative peace and allow ambulances to visit those areas. Once the cease-fire ends, fighting will presumably resume. The world's diplomatic elite, including Secretary of State John F. Kerry, are hoping that a broader truce can be struck. Kerry himself put forward a plan for such a cease-fire on Friday, but it was rejected by Israel.

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