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Israeli-Hamas truce ‘just a ceasefire’, cautions Middle East expert

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

The hard-won truce after 11 days of fighting in the Gaza Strip is “just a ceasefire” and not a sign of lasting peace, cautions a Middle East expert.

The hard-won truce between Israeli and Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip is "just a ceasefire" and not a sign of any lasting peace, says an Australian expert on Middle East international relations.

It comes after hundreds of masked Hamas fighters brandishing assault rifles parade in Gaza City on Saturday in a show of defiance during the city's first full day of the ceasefire.

READ MORE: Egyptian mediators hold talks to firm up Israel-Hamas truce

During the 11 days of fighting, Israel unleashed hundreds of airstrikes against militant targets in Gaza, while Hamas and other militants fired more than 4000 rockets toward Israel.

More than 250 people were killed in the conflict.

Egyptian mediators have been holding talks to firm up the fragile cessation to the violence, but the ANU's Dr Alam Saleh says that a much more coordinated international effort by governments and agencies is needed to resolve the century-old conflict.

On Saturday, hundreds of Hamas fighters wearing military camouflage paraded past the mourning tent for Bassem Issa, a senior commander killed in the fighting.

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The top Hamas leader in Gaza, Yehiyeh Sinwar, paid his respects in his first public appearance since the war began.

Israel bombed the house of Sinwar, along with that of other senior Hamas figures, as part of its attack on what it said was the group's military infrastructure.

Israel's defense minister, Benny Gantz, has said Israel delivered a punishing blow to Hamas, and that top Hamas figures remained targets.

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Despite this, there's a widespread expectation that the ceasefire will stick for now, but another round of fighting at some point seems inevitable.

Speaking to Weekend Today, Dr Saleh called on the US allies to put pressure on Washington to become more actively involved.

"It's just another ceasefire," he said.

"[It's] not addressing the roots of this century-old conflict, which requires more comprehensive and more serious efforts to bring a lasting peace."

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The comments stand in direct contrast to remarks by US President Joe Biden, who on Friday hailed the ceasefire as a "genuine opportunity" toward building a lasting peace.

Mr Biden credited the Egyptian government with playing a crucial role in brokering the ceasefire and said he and top White House aides were intensely involved in an "hour-by-hour" effort to stop the bloodletting.

But underlying issues between the two groups remain unresolved, including an Israeli-Egyptian border blockade, now in its 14th year, that is choking Gaza's more than two million residents and a refusal by Hamas to disarm.

Dr Saleh called on the US to do more, saying "President Biden's hope is not enough — we need more actions".

"Without international pressure on both sides, we will not be able to see more compromising between the Israelis and Palestinians," he said.

He noted that increased international awareness would increase the cost for both sides in initiating further conflict.

Source: 9News

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