Source: AFP World News / English Date: November 21, 2012
CAIRO, Nov 21, 2012 (AFP) -
Israel and Hamas agreed Wednesday to an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire accord to end a week of violence in and around the Gaza Strip following days of marathon talks.
Here is the text of the ceasefire agreement which is set to take effect at 1900 GMT:
“Israel shall stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land sea and air, including incursions and targeting of individuals.
“All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.
“Opening the crossings and facilitating the movement of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas. Procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.
“Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.”
And Secretary Clinton’s remarks on what comes next
Now we have to focus on reaching a durable outcome that promotes regional stability and advances the security, dignity, and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis alike. President Morsi and I discussed how the United States and Egypt can work together to support the next steps in that process. In the days ahead, the United States will work with partners across the region to consolidate this progress, improve conditions for the people of Gaza, and provide security for the people of Israel. Ultimately, every step must move us toward a comprehensive peace for all the people of the region.
WHAT IT MEANS:
1. Hamas and Israel are negotiating (see first line of agreement)
2. Hamas has made progress toward what it has wanted all along. As far back as 2008, it offered Israel an end to rocket attacks in exchange for Israel lifting the blockade. In fact, Hamas implemented a ceasefire, as promised, while Israel never lifted the blockade.
3. Israel has agreed to ending target assassinations. This, combined with the lifting of the blockade, has been Hamas’ demand since Israel placed Gaza under siege. Now Israel has agreed to end the assassinations and incursions into Gaza of any kind.
4. At this point we do not know how extensive the lifting of the blockage will be. But, as guarantor of the agreement, President Morsi will likely insist on serious action.
5. All attacks on Israel from Gaza will end. Hamas has repeatedly offered this to Israel in exchange for, as above, the lifting of the blockade and the end of the assassinations. Both conditions were met.
6.The United States has conceded the full legitimacy of the Morsi government and, by extension, of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hamas also is legitimated by the agreement to which it was an equal party.
7. Netanyahu got absolutely nothing. Happily, the people of southern Israel have but his goal was to break Hamas not defend Sderot. He utterly failed.
8. Additionally, Secretary Clinton has committed the United States to helping to achieve “security, dignity, and legitimate aspirations of Palestinians and Israelis alike.” (She named Palestinians first, not an accident). This could mean resumption of the peace process, the idea of which gives Netanyahu cold shivers.
Bottom line: Hamas, President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood came out ahead. So did the people (not the government) of Israel. The big losers were Netanyahu, Barak and their war cabinet and, above all, the innocent civilians of Gaza who were killed in Netanyahu’s war. Nothing makes up for the loss of the innocents, especially the children, but it would be even worse if the aggressor had achieved his goal. Nonetheless, he is a war criminal, just a failed one.
We can only pray that the ceasefire holds and that, as it now appears, President Obama does indeed remember who and what Netanyahu is.