Page last updated at 15:47 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 16:47 UK

Voices on Israeli Gaza ceasefire

Two Israelis and two Palestinians in Gaza give their reaction to the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, due to start on Thursday. Under its terms, Israel will lift its blockade on Gaza, if no rockets have been fired from the territory for three days.

Sarah Cohen-Krausz, 44, academic, Jerusalem

Sara Cohen-Krausz

I doubt that it will work for very long. I'd be very happy if it did, but I don't trust the intentions of Hamas.

It's the ceasefire, not the peace. Hamas haven't come to terms with the existence of Israel yet, they're just buying time.

I assume Hamas will use it to rebuild themselves, so that when the ceasefire fails, they will be stronger than they are now.

Weapons will still flow into Gaza and the training will still go on.

Egypt is keen for a ceasefire, to try to prevent Gazans breaking through the fence into their country, like they did a few months ago.

I think the current policy of the blockade on Gaza is partially working - what else brought Hamas to the table?

But will the next step happen - will Hamas accept Israel? I think this is a very short term solution.

We haven't got Gilad Shalit [the Israeli soldier seized by Palestinian militants in Israel, in 2006] back - Israel should have made that a precondition of the ceasefire.

Mohammed Balousha, 16, student, Gaza City

Mohammed Balousha

I'm really optimistic this will work. And if it does, it will be great, it will be a small step to breaking the blockade.

It's really important for us Palestinians, especially in Gaza, to breathe at least - and to have a chance to travel.

For a year, we have not had enough food or trade, nothing but siege.

I really support stopping rockets being fired from Gaza, they cause us a lot of problems. They should stop forever.

I think the ceasefire is happening now because there is a real will from us Palestinians, and from Hamas, to just stop the blockade. And the Israelis want the rockets to stop.

The blockade wasn't just on Hamas, but also on a million-and-a-half people.

The problem is, we don't know what Hamas is thinking. I hope they are doing this in good faith.

If they are really planning to go down the diplomatic route, that's great. But if they still want more weapons, that's bad.

I've been an exchange student in the US and my host family have invited me to visit again in the past few months - I couldn't leave.

I plan to attend college in the US or the UK; so if the borders are open, I can travel.

My father really needs medical treatment on his foot. If the ceasefire holds, it means he can get what he needs in Jordan or Egypt.

Mechi Fendel, 41, mother-of-seven, Sderot, Israel

Mechi Fendel

I'm positive it won't work. Hamas is a terrorist group, and you can't talk to terrorists.

There are so many factions in Gaza, even though Hamas may provide the materials, it's not the only group firing the rockets.

I don't want a ceasefire - even if it works. I want Israel to go in and clear out the terrorists.

I think that would be easier for the normal citizens in Gaza too.

They are in a prison; they are surrounded by terrorists, they're under sanctions, they're getting bombed, they can't continue working and caring for their families. The terrorists are not allowing them to build on the land that we evacuated.

If the ceasefire "works" it may mean I get a few good nights' sleep, but the weapons smuggling into Gaza will still carry on, for sure.

We already have a long history of dealing with the Arab neighbours. And we know they are not going to let us be.

We know ceasefires don't hold for more than a month or so.

I think the Israeli leaders are making a very big mistake, they're just trying to get publicity and buy time.

Abdallah Quffa, student, central Gaza

Abdallah Quffa

Yes, I am optimistic. Both Hamas and Israel need this ceasefire.

Six Palestinians died in Gaza yesterday, two men died in the street here. One of my friend's brothers was injured. Even my little sisters were crying, it was terrible.

As soon as Israel stops and accepts the ceasefire, we will stick to our word.

I have no idea why Israel has to wait three days until it lifts the blockade. But let's see, three days is nothing.

Opening the border will make life normal - because it is not normal at the moment.

Oil, sugar, rice, everything is so crazily expensive. We lack so many things: spare parts for computers, children's shoes, electrical goods.

So, we have to be optimistic that this will work, we have nothing else, to be honest.

It's good Egypt is going to monitor the ceasefire, but I wish other countries got more involved - and not just for the Israelis.

If the blockade is lifted, in one way it will make Hamas stronger, because people will feel better.

It will make us less angry at the government, whoever they are. We don't care who rules us, as long as they rule fairly.


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