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IDF forces in Gaza Photo: Reuters
IDF forces in Gaza Photo: Reuters
 
 

 

Report: Israel, Hamas agree on 2-week truce

Palestinian sources tell Ynet fighting in Gaza to cease within 72 hours for period of two weeks, during which sides will discuss supervision of crossings, IDF withdrawal from Strip and removal of blockade

Ali Waked
Published: 01.15.09, 23:50 / Israel News

Palestinian sources told Ynet on Thursday evening that Israel and Hamas have agreed on all the general outlines of the Egyptian ceasefire initiative to end the fighting in Gaza.

 

According to the report, the sides have agreed on the truce, on the supervision of the smuggling issue, on the crossings and on lifting of the blockade imposed on the Strip.

 

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According to the sources, the two sides are expected to agree on a ceasefire which will likely begin within 72 hours and last up to two weeks.

 

During this period of time, the parties will discuss the Israel Defense Forces' withdrawal from Gaza and the withdrawal's timing. Palestinian sources estimated that the pullback into Israel would be swift.

 

According to the sources, on the issue of the supervision mechanism it has been agreed that the international forces' presence would be on the Palestinian side of the Philadelphi route.

 

On this issue the sides are expected to discuss the identity of the supervisors and the international force. Hamas is interested in Turkish forces, while Israel is expected to demand a reinforced Western presence.

 

Simultaneously, Egypt will begin using the supervision equipment sent by the United States. This mechanism is aimed at reducing the smuggling of weapons through Hamas tunnels in the Rafah area to a minimum.

 

Egyptian officers and supervisors who underwent training in Texas in the past few months will be in charge of operating the improved equipment, which is expected to begin functioning in the coming days.

 

The operation of the crossings, particularly the Rafah crossings, will be based on an agreement from 2005 which includes the presence of European monitors, Israeli cameras and a force on behalf of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Hamas will also be present at the crossings, but the location of its representatives has yet to be determined.

 

Simultaneously, Israel is expected to demand that the Palestinian organizations stop manufacturing weapons inside the Gaza Strip.

 

Fear: Dispute will lead to renewed fighting

The question of how soon the crossings will open, as well as when the blockade will be lifted, depends on the response to the conditions expected to be raised by Israel – led by the Gilad Shalit issue.

 

In addition, according to the Palestinian sources, Israel will demand that Hamas or the other Palestinian organizations will refrain from attempting to execute terror attacks in Israel from the West Bank in response to the Gaza operation.

 

Ynet has learned that Israel demands that the number of people who will not be allowed to pass through the Rafah crossing will total 5,000. According to the sources, Egypt is extremely interested in reaching a deal, which will allow Cairo to open the crossing which has been used by elements in the Arab world to attack the country.

 

According to estimates, the circumstances created on the ground at the start of the discussions will influence their outcomes. However, if agreements are not made on all issues, the military escalation may be resumed within a week or two.

 

The inter-Palestinian dialogue is not expected to be discussed by Hamas and Egypt at this stage. The issue is expected to be postponed until an agreement is reached during the short ceasefire period.

 

The sources said that the renewed lull will last at least a year, and is expected to last even longer. According to the sources, a "weakened" Hamas will agree to a longer lull in order to recover from the current conflict.

 

If the agreement is executed, the agreement is expected to provide an answer to the Israeli demands in terms of the smuggling issue, the rocket fire and a serious discussion on the Shalit issue.

 

Hamas will gain the reopening of the crossings, the removal of the blockade and an official role at the crossings. Abbas will receive renewed access to the Strip, only at the crossings at first, and Egypt will be able to open the Rafah crossing.

 

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