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18 Jun, 2008 13:37

Israel and Hamas agree on Gaza truce

Israel and Hamas have come to an agreement on a ceasefire, starting on Thursday morning in the Gaza area. It won't be the first time Israel has struck such a deal, and there are few illusions about how long it might last.

Israel and Hamas appear to be close to agreement on a ceasefire starting on Thursday morning in the Gaza area.

It would mark a radical departure from the almost daily routine of rocket strikes and air attacks between the two sides.

In the latest round at least six Palestinians were killed, just as Israel and Hamas were in the final stages of an Egyptian-brokered truce.

Whatever optimism there is of peace between both sides, and there is not much, is often destroyed by events on the ground.

But, if this week's planned ceasefire does happen, it will mark a breakthrough in hostilities between sworn enemies.

Meanwhile the Israeli government says it wants to stop funding medical treatment for a four year old Palestinian girl left paralysed after an Israeli shell attack.

Marina Aman is being kept alive by doctors at a hospital in Jerusalem – and treatment is only possible because of funding by the Israeli government.

She was four and a half years old when three Israeli shells crashed into the taxi her family was travelling in. Her mother, grandmother, brother and uncle were killed, but she was lucky and survived.

Maria’s story shows the irony of the conflict. After the incident, the same government that shot her, brought her and her father to Jerusalem for treatment.

Maria is paralysed from the neck down and is living on funding from the Israeli government – funding it now wants to cut.

If Maria is forced to go back to Gaza, she'll survive only fifty seconds without the life support she gets here.

“She's the only thing left in my life,” said her father Hamdi Aman. “She's my mother, my sister – everything I lost. It is a difficult situation but I believe in god and destiny. I do not blame anybody. I'm not angry. But I do think the Israeli government must pay and take responsibility for her life – she deserves it.”