International NGOs have welcomed the commencement of a ceasefire in Gaza and urged all parties to reach a lasting, comprehensive and just peace.
Reports from the region are that the ceasefire is still holding, though tensions on the ground are running high.
The Israeli Defence Force (IDF) is maintaining its invasion mobilisation.
The Egyptian Foreign Minister announced the ceasefire between Hamas and Israel tonight at a news conference in Cairo. The truce began at 7pm GMT two days ago, after a week of intense bombing.
Janet Symes, Christian Aid’s Head of Middle East commented: "The people of Gaza are in urgent need of humanitarian support including medical help. The people worst affected are the poorest – they are struggling to afford food, water and fuel. Lifting the blockade on Gaza is essential and we urge all concerned to ensure this promise is turned into reality."
She continued: "If the ceasefire holds, it could be the first step to meaningful negotiations with all parties which have to take place to bring real change to the people of Gaza."
"Renewed peace negotiations must hold all parties to account, be guided by international law, seek to end occupation, lift the blockade of Gaza, and ensure the security of both Palestinians and Israelis. Without such efforts, it will not be long before we see yet another outbreak of the kind of violence unleashed a few days ago," added Ms Symes.
Since the last major attack on Gaza nearly four years ago, there has been little action by the international community to prevent a repeat of the hostilities or to hold to account those who are frustrating peace and we are currently witnessing the tragic consequences.
Christian Aid launched its appeal earlier this week to provide urgently needed medical supplies and assistance, food and other essential items, and psychosocial support to civilians most in need.
The appeal has also been extended to civilians most in need across the wider Middle East region.
* More on the appeal here: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/17455