Timely truce: After much bloodshed, the fighting stops over Gaza
August 28, 2014 12:00 AM
Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters
A Hamas militant kisses the head of Hamas political leader Moussa Abu Marzouk as he visits the mourning tent of senior Hamas commander Mohammed Abu Shammala, who was killed by an Israeli air strike.
By the Editorial Board
After seven weeks of fighting, which has claimed more than 2,100 Palestinians and 70 Israelis, a truce, based on a temporary agreement, is now in place in Gaza between the two combatants.
Neither side got what it wanted, leaving the conditions under which fighting could easily resume. The Israelis had sought the demilitarization — basically, the disarmament — of the Gazans, which they were not going to yield. The Gazans had sought an end to the land and sea blockade that the Israelis enforce on the tiny piece of land, smothering it economically, as the Gazans see it, and reducing the security problems its residents can pose to Israel, from the Israeli point of view.
Egypt was able to broker an agreement between the two sides, in spite of the fact that its government, led by former Field Marshal Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, lacks the influence with Hamas, which rules in Gaza, that Egypt’s predecessor Muslim Brotherhood government, which Mr. el-Sissi overthrew, had.
Israel was prompted to agree to a cease-fire accord by the fact that school there was scheduled to start, and civilians would have faced greater harm from the continued firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel. The Palestinians were pushed to agree by the cumulative effect of Israeli bombing over seven weeks, which had produced many casualties, major material damage and economic disruption.
The next question is whether the end to the Israeli-Gazan fighting, if it holds, can lead to a return to the broader Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that had been shepherded by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in the hopes of reaching to a two-state solution.
The problem is now 66 years old and continues to prevent the two peoples from enjoying lasting, sustainable peace and resulting prosperity.
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