Hamas-Israel ceasefire fragile

The UN Security Council has urged Israel and Hamas to uphold the ceasefire agreement.

Palestinians celebrate the beginning of the truce with Israel in Rafah town in the southern Gaza Strip on November 21, 2012. Picture: AFP

TEL AVIV - The United Nations (UN) Security Council on Thursday urged Israel and Hamas to uphold the ceasefire agreement it brokered earlier, and has commended Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and others for brokering the deal.

The 15-member council also said it "deplored the loss of civilian lives resulting from this situation" - more than 150 people have died in eight days of conflict.

The deal prevented, at least for the moment, an Israeli ground invasion of the Palestinian enclave following bombing and rocket fire which killed five Israelis and 162 Gazans, including 37 children.

While details of the agreement still have to be made public, there are mixed feelings on both sides.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is hoping it will be a long-term measure.

"I know there are those who expect a more intense military response, and that may perhaps that may be needed.

"But at this time, the right thing for the state of Israel is to exhaust this opportunity to obtain a long-term ceasefire."

But not everyone is happy the ceasefire has gone into effect.

Residents of Israel's south are angry and would have preferred a ground operation that would have "destroyed the remaining rockets in Gaza".

In small protests last night, Israelis in several cities chanted "We will no longer be the backyard of Israel."

They feel there will be no let-up in the number of missiles falling on them while their government does little to respond.

But most Israelis are happy a truce has been agreed to.

On the Palestinian side, there were celebrations on the streets with fireworks, gunfire and car hooting

In Gaza, witnesses reported an explosion shortly after the truce took effect at 9pm, but there were no casualties and the cause was unclear.

But people in Israel too were also very wary of the ceasefire and wanted to know the details.

The big question on everyone's mind is for just how long the situation will now stay quiet.

If it holds, the truce will give 1.7 million Gazans respite from days of ferocious air strikes and halt rocket salvoes from militants that have unnerved a million people in southern Israel and reached Tel Aviv and Jerusalem for the first time.

(Additional reporting by Reuters and CNN)