Australia welcomes Middle East ceasefire

·1-min read

Australia has welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas after almost two weeks of deadly warfare.

The fighting flared up after Israeli forces tried to forcibly evict Palestinians from their homes in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah and stormed the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.

It triggered 11 days of air strikes and rocket fire that killed at least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, and 12 people in Israel.

Cabinet minister Simon Birmingham said the truce was welcome news.

"We hope that it endures and we hope that it provides scope for Israel and representatives of the Palestinian people to come back to the negotiating table and to ultimately work towards a two-state solution," Senator Birmingham said on Friday.

"Credit should be given to President Biden and the United States, as well as Egyptian leaders who have engaged carefully with both Israel and Palestinian representatives and Hamas to get to the point of this ceasefire."

Senator Birmingham urged both parties to respect the terms of the ceasefire and engage in negotiations to advance long-term peace.