Gaza celebrates ceasefire amid international relief

Gaza celebrates ceasefire amid international relief

Residents in Gaza have poured into the streets on Thursday to celebrate the restoration of calm in the territory after eight days of aerial bombardment, as words of relief continue to come from members of the international community, Xinhua reported.

Shops and restaurants were reopened and people were seen cleaning street debris or fixing wires that were cut during the Israeli offensive. Celebratory car horns were incessant in city center and occasional celebratory gunfire could also be heard.

The ruling Hamas movement declared a public holiday to mark the end of hostilities, and organized a mass celebration in the city center.

Outside the parliament building, flag-waving Hamas supporters have turned the place into a sea of green, dotted by yellow flags of the rival Fatah movement in a rare show of unity in the Hamas-run territory.

The eight-day conflict has killed 164 Palestinians, including 43 children, Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry said. On the Israeli side, six people were killed by rockets fired from Gaza.

The implementation of the Egypt-brokered ceasefire has been hailed by many countries and international organizations and such comments continue to flow in.

Russia is pleased with the ceasefire deal, which is "necessary to proceed further to achieve stable and lasting settlement so as to guarantee the security of Israel and peaceful life of Gaza residents as a part of Palestinian territories, without any blockade and isolation," a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

French President Francois Hollande also welcomed the Gaza ceasefire deal and expressed appreciation for the role played by the Egyptian government.

He called for efforts on all relevant parties to consolidate the positive outcome and work for a permanent cessation of hostilities in the territory.

The European Parliament on Thursday adopted a resolution in the French city of Strasboug to express its welcome to the ceasefire deal.

According to the document, the European Parliament has grave concern about the situation in Gaza and grieved "the loss of innocent civilian lives."

While acknowledging Israel's security need, it urged all parties to honor international law of humanity and to lift the blockade of the Gaza strip.

Indonesia also welcomed the ceasefire in Gaza and called for a resumption of dialogue to end conflicts in the Middle East, a statement from the country's Foreign Ministry said.

"Indonesia urged all parties involved in the conflict to resume negotiation to build peace in the Middle East, in line with the U.N. resolution, and to establish an independent state of Palestine," the statement said.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which has just wrapped up a series of top-level meetings with regional leaders, also praised the ceasefire.

Cambodian Prime Minister and the current ASEAN Chair Hun Sen recalled that the ASEAN leaders asked U.S. President Barack Obama to intervene in the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza during the Fourth ASEAN-U.S. Leaders' Meeting on Nov. 19 in Phnom Penh.

"We congratulated President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the constructive role in the negotiations for the ceasefire," he said.

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