What Did Israel Really Give Up in the Gaza Cease-Fire?
It has been hard to find the actual terms of the truce agreement between Israel and Hamas (officially, the PA).
The closest I’ve seen was published in Arabic at Youm7:
The [Egyptian Foreign] Ministry said in a statement, “in order to preserve the lives of innocent people and to prevent bloodshed, and on the basis of the Egyptian Initiative of 2014 and Cairo understandings of 2012, Egypt has invited Israeli and Palestinian sides to a comprehensive ceasefire in conjunction with the opening of the crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel, in order to achieve the speed of entry of humanitarian aid and relief kits for reconstruction , and fishing, from 6 nautical miles, and the continuation of indirect negotiations between the parties on other topics within a month of the start of the ceasefire. ….Egypt reiterates its firm commitment to turn, which is dictated by the facts of history and geography, and responsibilities of national and Arab, regional, and what emerges from that work to achieve the aspirations of the Palestinian people and support their leadership, and concern for the promotion of peace and stability in the region through the establishment of an independent Palestinian state to achieve peace and security in the region, which would contribute to the prosperity and well-being of all its countries and peoples.
That is a hell of a vague statement.
The only concrete part is Israel re-opening the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings that never closed (they are not going to open the old crossings) to allow construction materials, and to extend the fishing zone to 6 nautical miles – which Israel did after Operation Pillar of Defense, and then reportedly shortened it over time. All the other stuff Hamas is claiming – that they will build a sea port and an airport and everything else – is fantasy.
Almost certainly Israel will only allow construction materials into Gaza that go through NGOs. That doesn’t mean that they won’t be diverted, as they had been before, so it remains to be seen whether there will be additional restraints or controls on the dual-use items.
It is very clear that Hamas got very little more than they would have gotten during the first cease-fire proposal by Egypt before the ground invasion. The six mile fishing zone is mostly symbolic, that section of the Mediterranean is already overfished. Hamas celebrations are completely for pride.
Hamas is probably counting on being able to divert much of the international aid that will pour in.
Will the PA be able to leverage this into returning to a position of control in Gaza, especially Rafah? Egypt no doubt will push for that as a condition to re-open Rafah the way it was under the Muslim Brotherhood.
We won’t know if this truce will be worth it for years – if Hamas holds its fire and the fire of its partners. But we do know that Israel didn’t promise any of the things that Hamas is claiming.