The Israeli cabinet may be presented with the terms of a Gaza ceasefire as soon as Wednesday, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says that the ceasefire will not mean the opening of border crossings into the strip, which Israel has kept closed to all but the bare minimum of humanitarian supplies for several months.
“We will not allow the opening of the crossings to Gaza, to the extent that it will bring back life to normal,” Olmert insisted, saying that his government would only consider opening the crossings when captured soldier Gilad Shalit is returned. Negotiations for the release of Shalit are ongoing concurrently with the ceasefire deal, though Hamas has rejected linking the two.
A 22-day Israeli war against the Gaza Strip killed over 1,400 people, many of them women and children. Though the ceasefire has mostly held since the fighting ended, Israel has refused to allow reconstruction materials into the strip, leaving much of the area in ruins.