sky over Gaza

Gaza ceasefire: the terms and the stakes


AFTER 51 DAYS OF DESTRUCTION, INVADERS LOSE OUT
Despite having an advanced, American-donated military, dutiful puppets in governments worldwide and a patron with veto-power in the United Nations Security Council, “Israel” still lost. It wrought massive and far reaching destruction of infrastructure as well as agricultural lands, homes and historic mosques. It made roughly half a million Palestinians in Gaza homeless, killed over 2100, wiped out nearly 100 families entirely and made almost two thousand children orphans. But it could not break Gaza. It did not destroy all or even a significant fraction of tunnels, nor the ability of resistance in Gaza to respond to its barbaric savagery. It also committed blatant war crimes in full view of the world, which will be impossible to explain away. The International Criminal Court will not accept cartoons as proof, nor will the pretext that over 10000 houses all had rocket launchers inside in the kitchens. The enormity and savagery of the genocide shocked the conscience of the world in a way that other conflicts haven’t and brought millions out into the streets to demand their governments stop capitulating to Jewish power politics and lobbies. The public of the world was horrified, disgusted and enraged that the population of the largest open-air prison in the world was subject to such brutality with nary a peep from the UN or our governments, most particularly the Americans (whose public, despite being larger than Britain’s, did not take to the streets en masse). Regardless, the southland of “Israel” was shut down, as was its airport and large sections of its economy, most notably tourism. And while Jewish media in “Israel” try to put a happy face and bluster with typical bravado about how ‘the khamas was khumiliated’ not even the Jewish public believes it. So after the retired American Marines General John Allen, former former commander of US forces in Afghanistan, arrived on an unannounced visit Monday night, it was made clear to the lunatics running the asylum that is “Israel” that they really had no choice but to accept a truce since they could not, even after 51 days, militarily defeat Gazan resistance, and that the patron would not be able to shield the mad dog from the world any longer. Tuesday, 26 August it was announced that a ceasefire agreement had been reached to take effect that evening. So what did it say and what is at stake? As is par for the course in the Gordian knot that is the Middle East: everything and nothing and everything.

26 August, 2014 World Bulletin
Following are the broad parameters of the agreement, which Israeli and Palestinian negotiators have been working on through indirect talks in Cairo over recent weeks.

As part of the deal, both sides have agreed to address more complex issues dividing them – including the release of Palestinian prisoners and Gaza’s demands for a sea port – via further indirect talks starting within a month.

IMMEDIATE STEPS

* Hamas and other resistance groups in Gaza agree to halt all rocket and mortar fire into Israel.

* Israel will stop all military action including air strikes and ground operations.

* Israel agrees to open more of its border crossings with Gaza to allow the easier flow of goods, including humanitarian aid and reconstruction equipment, into the coastal enclave.

* In a separate, bilateral agreement, Egypt will agree to open its 14 km (8 mile) border with Gaza at Rafah.

* The Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, is expected to take over responsibility for administering Gaza’s borders from Hamas. Israel and Egypt hope it will ensure weapons, ammunition and any “dual-use” goods are prevented from flowing into Gaza.

* The Palestinian Authority will lead in coordinating the reconstruction effort in Gaza with international donors, including the European Union.

* Israel is expected to narrow the security buffer along the inside of the Gaza border, reducing it from 300 metres to 100 meters if the truce holds. The move will allow Palestinians more access to farm land close to the border.

* Israel will extend the fishing limit off Gaza’s coast to six miles from three miles, with the possibility of widening it gradually if the truce holds. Ultimately, the Palestinians want to return to a full 12-mile international allowance.

LONGER TERM ISSUES TO BE DISCUSSED

* Hamas wants Israel to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners rounded up in the West Bank following the killing of three Jewish seminary students in June. Hamas officially denied involvement in the killings.

* President Abbas, who heads the Fatah party, wants freedom for long-serving Palestinian prisoners whose release was dropped after the collapse of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

* Israel wants Hamas and other resistance groups in Gaza to hand over all body parts and personal effects of Israeli soldiers killed during the war.

* Hamas wants a sea port built in Gaza, allowing goods and people to be ferried in and out of the enclave. Israel has long rejected the plans, but it is possible that progress towards it could be made if there are absolute security guarantees.

* Hamas wants the un-freezing of funds to allow it to pay 40,000 police, government workers and other administrative staff who have largely been without salaries since late last year.

* The Palestinians also want the airport in Gaza – Yasser Arafat International, which opened in 1998 but was shut down in 2000 after it was bombed by Israel – to be rebuilt.

26 August, 2014 Middle East Eye
The Israel-Gaza ceasefire agreement is open-ended and includes the opening of the land border with Israel, Palestinian diplomatic sources revealed to Middle East Eye.

The ceasefire came into effect at 7pm local time (1600 GMT) on Tuesday.

The terms of a ceasefire are yet to be officially announced although Hamas was quick to call the deal a “victory.”

“We have achieved most of our goals and targets – we hit the occupation,” a Hamas spokesperson Fawzi Barhoum told media. “In the future the resistance will be about to go to Jerusalem and [the current war] paves the way to our target of reaching al Aqsa and Jerusalem.

“Today, we are telling Israel as the agreement has started – you can go home because of a decision taken by Hamas, not taken by Netanyahu,” he added.

Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, also confirmed that a ceasefire had been reached, saying that it was time to rebuild Gaza.

“An end to the killing will come at the same time as the entry of humanitarian, medical and building materials,” Abbas said.

“We fully appreciate the efforts of Egypt” in reaching a ceasefire, but we “stress again that Qatar has played a role in this regard.”

“John Kerry, US Secretary of State, has exerted some efforts. The disaster there in Gaza is beyond imagination. Stopping the fighting was the main topic that was discussed with the Hamas leaders in Qatar.”

Israeli politicians have so far stayed largely tight lipped on the terms, but it appears that the deal is broadly unpopular. Israel’s Channel 2 news reported that 50 percent of the cabinet – including Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and Economy minister Naftali Bennett – were opposed to the deal’s terms.

“Netanyahu is not saying that it is a victory but he claims that Hamas did not achieve any of its demands like seaport or airport or unconditional opening of the crossings,” Israeli journalist and analyst Meron Rapoport said.

“He is quite right, at least formally. But when a weaker side is not losing, the stronger side feels it has lost, and this is the general feeling in the public, and worse for Netanyahu – in his government. The big question is what will be the price that Egypt will demand from Israel in exchange for its support. Quite probable that they will push for a renewal of the peace process and the strengthening of [Abbas]. This will put Netanyahu under further pressure.”

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