Gaza Ceasefire Holds: Israel in Cairo for Talks

Israel Offers Extension of Truce Beyond Friday Deadline

The current 72-hour ceasefire in the Gaza Strip continues to hold, and negotiations are underway in Cairo between a Palestinian delegation and an Israeli delegation on a permanent settlement to end the nearly month-long war.

Details on the indirect talks, which are being brokered by the Egyptian junta, remain scant, though both sides seem to be putting considerable effort into trying to broker a deal during this window of opportunity.

The ceasefire began early Tuesday morning, and is scheduled to run until early Friday. Israel has already expressed openness to an unconditional extension of the Friday deadline to allow talks to continue, though at this point no formal agreement has been reached on that point.

Egyptian junta officials say that the negotiation will focus on guarantees against future military escalation, but also on ending the long-standing Israeli blockade of Gaza, allowing the reopening of the crossings and the repair of massive damage caused by seven years of on-again, off-again Israeli wars.

The Red Cross says rebuilding from the war, assuming it ends now, will take years, and other officials have estimated the cost at upwards of $6 billion. The only power plant in Gaza was badly damaged, and will be out for at least a year, while water pumping systems are struggling, and rationing is likely to be a long-term reality for locals.

The death toll of the war is still being finalized, with 1,976 Gazans killed, 83% of them civilians and 463 of them children under the age of 18. The Israeli death toll is 67, with 64 of them soldiers.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.