Palestinians sceptical Gaza ceasefire will hold
A fragile calm has taken effect in the besieged Gaza Strip as an Egyptian-brokered deal between Hamas, the group that governs the Strip, and Israel appears to be holding, but Palestinians and experts are sceptical of the agreement.
Mohammed Baroud, a 34-year-old schoolteacher, said he did not believe the latest ceasefire deal will last long.
"This is simply because Israel has never stuck to any agreement in the past," Baroud, who has witnessed the previous three Israeli assaults on the enclave, said.
"My students, who are mostly 11-year-olds, were scared. I spent the day comforting them, reassuring them that it will all be OK," he said.
"In reality, I know the Israelis will soon commit another crime."
The truce, announced on Tuesday by Hamas-led factions, was designed to restore calm and end two days of Israeli aerial attacks on Gaza after Palestinian factions fired rockets at Israel in retaliation for an undercover Israeli operation that killed seven in Gaza. At least 14 Palestinians and two Israelis were killed in the two days of violence.
A statement by Palestinian groups in Gaza said: "Egypt's efforts have been able to achieve a ceasefire between the resistance and the Zionist enemy.
"The resistance will respect this declaration as long as the Zionist enemy respects it."
But Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman resigned in protest against the ceasefire deal, precipitating a crisis for the coalition government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"What happened yesterday - the truce combined with the process with Hamas - is capitulating to terror. It has no other meaning," Lieberman told journalists.
Netanyahu has defended the truce, saying that the "leadership is doing the right thing".