Despite the Israeli refusal to participate in ceasefire negotiations, in Egypt, Palestinian resistance factions have agreed to engage in a 72-hour truce beginning 8 am Tuesday. Israeli officials, who have not participated in the negotiations, they say they will respect a temporary ceasefire Tuesday, but will not agree to any long-term truce. At the same time, however, Israeli officials have stated that that they will continue to attack Gaza “as long as necessary” to subdue the resistance.
Israeli forces repeatedly violated both their own ‘temporary pause’ on Monday, killing over 30 Palestinians while the ceasefire was supposed to be in place, and an agreed-on temporary ceasefire this past Friday, in which Israeli forces bombarded a market in Rafah, killing at least 62 people.
The Palestinian demands for a long-term truce include allowing fishing rights for 12 miles off the coast, the lifting of the siege that has devastated the Palestinian economy, the withdrawal of all Israeli troops from Gaza and the opening of the borders.
Ezzat al-Rizq, an official with the Hamas party who is participating in the talks in Egypt, said, ‘There is a consensus among all the Palestinian factions that Gaza can’t return to a blockade… it is a natural right of the people of Gaza to live (freely) as any other people in the world’.
According to the Israeli paper Haaretz, an Israeli military official told them at around noon on Monday that the army expects “to finish destroying all known Hamas tunnels within the next 24 hours, after which the government would decide whether to pull out the troops or leave them in the area.”
The military official reportedly also told the paper that the Israeli military is planning to continue to maintain a ‘buffer zone’ inside Gaza, which effectively confiscates 43% of the remaining territory of the already over-crowded coastal Strip, with troops remaining in Gaza long after hostilities have ended.
Hamas, for their part, have made the removal of all Israeli troops from Gaza a key requirement of a long-term truce.
In 2012, Palestinian factions led by Hamas agreed to a long-term truce with Israel, and maintained it for over a year despite numerous Israeli violations. In June, with an Israeli campaign that consisted of killing 10 Palestinians, and abducting hundreds in the West Bank, the Palestinian resistance began to respond by firing rockets into Israel.
According to a report by Steve Chovanec of globalresearch.ca, the lead-up to the Gaza invasion followed the deaths of 3 Israeli settlers in the West Bank. He wrote, ‘Despite the fact that no evidence whatsoever existed connecting the abduction of the 3 Israeli settlers to Hamas, the Netanyahu government launched an altogether illegal military invasion and attack on Palestine on June 12th, dubbed “Operation Brother’s Keeper.” The stated goal was focused on, “bringing our boys who were abducted, home,” and, “operating against Hamas.” What followed was a widespread 18-day military assault on the population in the West Bank in which thousands of soldiers, together with security agents, police, and special forces scoured through Palestinian towns, refugee camps, and villages, invading thousands of innocent Palestinian homes at the barrel of a gun, stealing upwards of $3 million dollars USD from these victims, arresting and detaining between 550-800 West Bank residents without charge, and murdering at least 6-10 innocent civilians who had absolutely nothing to do with the abduction of the Israeli settlers.’
See also: 07/26/14 ‘New Reports Show That Murder of 3 Israeli Teenage Settlers Was Not Carried Out by Hamas’