Ongoing peace talks in Cairo, aimed at settling the Gaza War, have not made much progress in getting the two delegations closed to settlement, but they have given the clearest picture yet of what each side wants.
The Israeli government’s position had been unclear, with so many hawkish ruling MPs and ministers pushing so many different agendas, up to and including Moshe Feiglin’s call to expel all 1.8 million Palestinian civilians from the Gaza Strip and annex the territory into Israel proper.
But the official Israeli government demands center around “demilitarization,” as well as the forcible disarmament of any and all factions within the strip, along with strict limitations on imports of reconstruction material to rebuild the various sites they destroyed during the war.
On the Palestinian side, the demands are more straightforward. Everything they seek centers around an end to the Israeli blockade of the strip, allowing border crossings to reopen as well as allowing a seaport to open up under UN supervision.
That no deals are being made reflects that these two positions are in some ways at direct odds with each other. The end to the economic blockade of Gaza would necessarily preclude Israel from being able to prevent the importation of construction material to rebuild hospitals and homes leveled in the current war, And since that’s the only thing the Palestinians want, it will be hard to convince them to accept something else to allow Israel to continue the blockade.