UN Middle East peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov knew from bitter experience what he was talking about when he said on Thursday, Nov. 14 that the UN and Egypt had “worked hard to prevent the most dangerous escalation in and around Gaza from leading to war” and “the coming hours and days were critical.”
According to established Gaza routine, the Palestinian side habitually declares a ceasefire has been agreed, and then violates it, while Israel officials hold silent. This time, the only sign that Israel went along with the truce negotiated by the UN and Egypt, was the IDF’s approval to reopen schools and restore normal life across most of Israel, with the exception of the most heavily battered communities adjacent to the Gaza Strip, West Lachish and Hof Ashkelon.
Rocket sirens were heard there early Thursday 90 hours after the truce was said by Islamic Jihad and Egyptian officials to have gone into effect at 5.30 a.m. It came at the end of 48 hours of massive Jihad rocket fire and systematic Israeli air strikes to destroy its infrastructure, following the killing of the Islamic Jihad’s northern Gaza commander Baha Abu Al-Atta.