Pakistan has declared today (Friday) “Palestine Day” to express solidarity with Palestinians who have been subjected to genocide by Israel for the past 11 days.
After tensions heightened after the Sheikh Jarrah evictions and Israeli police violence at the Al-Aqsa mosque, Israel has bombarded Gaza with airstrikes, killing over 250 men, women, and teenagers.
At the United Nations, Pakistan has spoken out against Israeli violence, with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi declaring that the Palestinian people’s speech cannot and will not be suppressed.
Prime Minister Imran Khan had previously ordered officials to prepare for state-level demonstrations against Israeli massacres on Friday.
The orders were issued by the PM during a meeting of government spokespersons that he chaired. The PM’s aides had urged him to stage such a protest on Friday.
A long-awaited truce between Israel and Hamas, which governs the Palestinian Gaza Strip, went into effect at 2:00 a.m. on Friday (2300GMT Thursday).
Only celebratory gunshots could be seen on Gaza avenues, according to AFP journalists, as the cease-fire took place three hours after Netanyahu’s cabinet made the announcement.
Israel had already declared a truce to put an 11-day military offensive in Gaza to an end.
On Thursday, the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released a statement claiming that his Security Cabinet had unilaterally accepted Egypt’s truce plan.
“The political leaders emphasized that the reality on the ground will be that which determines the future of the campaign,” the statement said.
The Egyptian-mediated announcement came as US pressure mounted on Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to call a halt to the offensive.
Hamas officials could not be reached for clarification right away.
After the offensive began on May 10, Israel has conducted hundreds of airstrikes it claims are aimed at Hamas facilities, including a large tunnel network.
Devastating Israeli airstrikes in Gaza’s southern town of Rafah reduced houses to dust and debris, as an ambulance raced through town to assist the injured.
According to a diplomatic source, UN Middle East peace envoy Tor Wennesland was in Qatar for talks with Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh as part of an attempt to “restore calm.”
“Indirect talks” with Hamas, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are critical to progressing attempts toward a cease-fire.
“Of course Hamas has to be included because without Hamas there will be no ceasefire,” Merkel said, who also spoke to Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas Thursday, where they agreed the need “for a speedy ceasefire”.