Israel and the Palestinian factions today agreed to an “open-ended ceasefire” that includes materially all of the same terms as the failed Egypt proposal for a truce, and seems likely to be a de facto end to the current Gaza War.
The ceasefire will include the opening of the Rafah border crossing into Egypt, which Israel ironically enough bombed only yesterday, and the opening of Israeli crossings into Gaza under Israeli supervision, with the import of humanitarian aid the main focus.
In addition, Israel will allow the expansion of Gaza’s fishing zones, exactly as was proposed in the Egypt truce, and will also reduce the no-go area along the Gaza-Israel border from 300 meters to 100 meters, significantly increasing the amount of farmland Palestinians can access.
The ceasefire holds off to future discussion the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on several other issues, including prisoner releases and the opening of a UN-run seaport on the Gaza coast, which would give the tiny enclave access to international commerce.
Such issues were a big sticking point in the truce negotiations, and getting an open-ended ceasefire in place, even while punting on these matters, should at the very least make the deal semi-plausible for Israeli officials who opposed making major concessions.
The main provisions, of course, are a cessation of hostilities between the two sides, though the opening of the border crossings should enable reconstruction of the massive damage caused by the Israeli onslaught to begin sooner.
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