WE, along with the rest of the peace-loving people of the world, welcome the long-term ceasefire agreement finally reached between Israel and Hamas, the two hostile sides in the 50-day Gaza war. We believe both the Israeli leadership and Hamas representing the Palestinians in Gaza have come to realise the senselessness of the protracted hostilities. These claimed around 2200 lives, most of them civilians including children on the Palestinian side and some 69 people, five of them civilians on the Israeli side. The monstrosities of the war become patently evident from the mind-boggling havoc wreaked by Israeli aerial and artillery bombardments carried out on buildings and other physical infrastructures in Gaza.
Now that the stage has been set for a relative calm, it will be in the greater interest of the parties involved to sustain the Egypt-brokered truce, as promised by both sides. Needless to say, the ceasefire will provide the warring sides the necessary breathing space to think out ways to work for establishing durable peace in the area. But there is still reason for caution given the fragile nature of several other earlier ceasefire deals, which came to a naught a few hours after they were agreed upon. So, to avoid pitfalls the peacemakers would do well to take heed of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon's warning in this regard: "any peace effort that does not tackle the root causes of the crisis will do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence." And for such effort to succeed, the world powers, the US, in particular, will have to extend their fullest cooperation and support.