Gaza Daily, August 27: Gazans Celebrate Truce — But What Has Been Resolved?

Israel and Palestine have agreed a truce to end the Gaza War, after 50 days and more than 2,200 deaths.

The two sides accepted the Egyptian-brokered proposal on Tuesday evening.

Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank went onto the streets to celebrate the end of fighting, as Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas hailed the chance to “build a new nation and end the occupation”. Reaction in Israel was much more muted, with some criticism of the Netanyahu Government after it had promised to break the Gazan leadership of Hamas during the conflict.

Despite the celebrations in Gaza, Tuesday’s agreement appears to have resolved few of the long-term issues that contributed to the war. The agreement eases the 8-year Israeli blockade on Gaza, allowing in aid, medical supplies, and reconstruction materials through the two main crossings.

However, the agreement does not provide for a long-term removal of the blockade by both Israel and Egypt. A key Israeli demand — that any general movement of goods be supervised by West Jerusalem and the Palestinian Authority, excluding Hamas — is not addressed.

Nor does the truce resolve Israel’s condition that any lifting of the blockade be linked to the full “demilitarization” — effectively stripping Gazan military units and security forces of all weapons — of the territory.

Restrictions on Gaza’s fishermen will be relaxed, with an immediate extension of the fishing zone to six nautical miles from the coast and the prospect of extension to 12 miles.

However, Hamas’ condition for a seaport and airport is deferred to further talks, as is the demand for the release of detainees from Israeli prisons.

At least 12 Gazans were killed in Israeli attacks just before the ceasefire, and two Israelis were killed near Eshkol by a Gazan mortar.

Gazan medical staff put the local death toll at 2,142 since the war began on July 8. Israel lost 64 troops in a ground invasion, while five civilians and a Thai worker were killed by cross-border attacks.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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