A group of eight student protesters stormed into the Liberal Party headquarters on Thursday afternoon, to protest against the proposed higher education changes.And after several chants against the government’s harsh education cuts, at the worst moment, in came a delivery of $1152 worth of red wine.
- Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza agree to halt all rocket and mortar fire into Israel.
- Israel will stop all military action including air strikes and ground operations.
- Israel agrees to open more of its border crossings with Gaza to allow the easier flow of goods, including humanitarian aid and reconstruction equipment, into the coastal enclave.
- In a separate, bilateral agreement, Egypt will agree to open its 14 km (8 mile) border with Gaza at Rafah.
- The Palestinian Authority, headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, is expected to take over responsibility for administering Gaza’s borders from Hamas. Israel and Egypt hope it will ensure weapons, ammunition and any “dual-use” goods are prevented from flowing into Gaza.
- The Palestinian Authority will lead in coordinating the reconstruction effort in Gaza with international donors, including the European Union.
- Israel is expected to narrow the security buffer along the inside of the Gaza border, reducing it from 300 meters to 100 meters if the truce holds. The move will allow Palestinians more access to farm land close to the border.
- Israel will extend the fishing limit off Gaza’s coast to six miles from three miles, with the possibility of widening it gradually if the truce holds. Ultimately, the Palestinians want to return to a full 12-mile international allowance.
Longer Term Issues to Be Discussed
- Hamas wants Israel to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners rounded up in the West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Jewish seminary students in June, an attack that led to the war. Hamas initially denied involvement in the killings, but a senior Hamas official in exile in Turkey last week admitted the group did carry out the attack.
- President Abbas, who heads the Fatah party, wants freedom for long-serving Palestinian prisoners whose release was dropped after the collapse of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
- Israel wants Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza to hand over all body parts and personal effects of Israeli soldiers killed during the war.
- Hamas wants a sea port built in Gaza, allowing goods and people to be ferried in and out of the enclave. Israel has long rejected the plans, but it is possible that progress towards it could be made if there are absolute security guarantees.
- Hamas wants the un-freezing of funds to allow it to pay 40,000 police, government workers and other administrative staff who have largely been without salaries since late last year.
- The Palestinians also want the airport in Gaza - Yasser Arafat International, which opened in 1998 but was shut down in 2000 after it was bombed by Israel - to be rebuilt.
The occupation is still in effect because Israel and its ally Egypt are maintaining authority over what can and cannot enter Gaza. They are the ones who will determine if the political entities inside Gaza have complied sufficiently to be rewarded with an increased fishing zone, a sea port, and an airport and the ability to import and export beyond just “humanitarian needs.”
If these terms are actually observed by Israel — and given past ceasefire agreements, there is a strong likelihood that they will not be — the ultimate goal is to prevent any weapons inside Gaza, to turn it into a pacified region not unlike Area A of the West Bank, which is administered by Abbas. Indeed, according to this Reuters report, Abbas has been tasked with preventing any weapons from entering Gaza.
This reality is not sustainable. It may pacify and soothe for a little while, but the fundamental disease, the occupation and domination of the indigenous Palestinian people on their homeland, remains unaddressed.
The ceasefire between the Gaza factions and Israel is not just a ceasefire.
In exchange, Israel is lifting the siege on Gaza and there will be an opening of the Rafah border crossing. It’s a HUGE win for the resistance, and a major blow to Abbas.
They agreed to carry on negotiating for a month to finish up all other loose ends, i.e. the idea of an airport or sea port, and other things.
Whatever happens, the mere lifting of the siege is a huge gain, and proves once again that Israel only respects force, as negotiating for 20 years has not accomplished a quarter of this.