Israel and Palestinian parties have promised several truces that they did not respect. On Sunday, they agreed to an Egyptian proposal for a new 72-hour ceasefire in the Gaza area. It should start at 17.00 ET, according to officials.
An Israeli government official stated that Israel has agreed to Egypt’s proposal. He also added that Israeli negotiators will be returning to Cairo on Monday to continue indirect discussions with the Palestinians, if the truce will hold. Israeli officials flew home on Friday after another three-day truce ended, and hostilities would start again. The good news is that the Palestinian faction is open to further talks, once the new truce ends.
Egypt’s foreign ministry encourages “Both sides to exploit this truce to resume indirect negotiations immediately and work towards a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire agreement.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made it very clear that Israel has no interest in negotiating under fire, and he also warned that Israeli military will continue its campaign in the Gaza strip, should rocket salvoes continue.
Requests from both parties seem reasonable. Hamas demands that Israeli and Egyptian blockades on the coastal territory end, and the opening of a Gaza seaport, which Israel says will be discussed in the future if permanent peace is agreed upon.
Since the last ceasefire ended, Palestinian rocket and mortar salvoes continued to hit Israeli kibbutzim, or farms across the border. This seemed to be a strategy of sapping Jewish morale without forcing a ground invasion on the Gaza Strip.
Reports show that a month of war has claimed the life of 1895 Palestinians and only 67 Israelis. It also devastated huge tracts of densely-populated Gaza. The International pressure for ceasefire has also reduced in intensity, because the major powers are distracted by the Iraq and Ukraine conflicts. On the bright side, the last month of war has less intense than in the beginning, especially since Israel withdrew its grown forces from the Gaza Strip.
As far as the blockades are concerned, Hamas did not agree to Israel’s terms because it wanted an end to the economically impairing blockade of the enclave. Israel still refuses to ease access to Gaza, because it suspects the Hamas of restocking with weapons from overseas.
Israel demands guarantees from the Hamas that it will not use any reconstruction supplies sent to Gaza to invest in more tunnels that would be used to infiltrate soldiers. At the moment, Egypt is meeting separately with both parties (mostly because Israel considers the Hamas a terrorist organization and because Hamas rejects Israel’s right to exist).
Israel has lost only 64 soldiers and three civilians, whereas the other side lost over 1800 people. Israel is also working on a rocket interceptor called the “Iron Beam” which can shoot down mortars. Some said that they will not return to their communities, and abandonment will definitely raise pressure on Prime Minister Netanyahu.