Gaza Gets Long Ceasefire: Hamas Sidelined, Abbas to the Fore

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By Kalyan Kumar | August 27, 2014 1:28 PM EST

Israel and Hamas, on Tuesday, agreed to an open-ended ceasefire and ended the 7 week war that took the lives of 2,200 people and rendered thousands of people homeless and injured.

Reuters
Smoke and sand are seen following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza August 25, 2014. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians on Sunday to leave immediately any site where militants are operating, one day after Israel flattened a 13-storey apartment block in Gaza. Palestinian health officials say 2,115 people, most of them civilians and more than 400 of them children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending Palestinian rocket fire into its territory.Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed.

The Guardian reported the truce deal brokered by Egypt stipulates Israel to allow the imports of aid and reconstruction material into Gaza through its check posts. The deal also gives Palestinians enhanced fishing rights into six nautical miles offshore, compared to the three nautical miles limit before.  The Rafah border with Egypt will also be opened.

John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State said in a statement expressed the hope that when calm is restored, more delivery of humanitarian assistance will flow to Gaza.  John Kerry assured that the U.S. would continue to engage in talks. But the new agreement shows no sign of any Israeli concessions.

Hamas Over Ruled

The new ceasefire agenda over turns the core demands of Hamas. The talks in Cairo came into an impasse on issues such as the opening of a seaport and airport in Gaza and the demand of Israel to disarm Hamas.

During the war, Hamas had been saying that it would not budge until the blockade is lifted. But that point is nowhere in the new deal. Israel and Egypt enforced the border blockade in 2007, after Hamas took control of Gaza. The blockade was a barrier to Gaza's 1.8 million people from freely moving or trading with the outside world. Only a few thousand people can travel in and out of the coastal area. The opening of the borders will see the deployment of forces loyal to Mahmoud Abbas, who is more acceptable to Israel and others.

The United Nations issued a statement that Gaza must come under one legitimate Palestinian government. It was an assertion of a new space for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who was ousted by Hamas in 2007. Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

Abbas Plan

Making a televised address on Tuesday, Mahmoud Abbas, said the ending of war underscored the need for a permanent solution to the conflict. "Shall we expect more wars? Until when will this issue linger without a solution?" Abbas asked.

Reports say that Abbas is planning to demand the withdrawal of Israel from all lands it occupied since the 1967 Middle East war. 

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(Photo: Reuters / Ahmed Zakot)
Smoke and sand are seen following what witnesses said was an Israeli air strike in Gaza August 25, 2014. Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians on Sunday to leave immediately any site where militants are operating, one day after Israel flattened a 13-storey apartment block in Gaza. Palestinian health officials say 2,115 people, most of them civilians and more than 400 of them children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending Palestinian rocket fire into its territory.Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed.
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