Below is the text of the Ceasefire Agreement as Announced Today. Commentary follows the text of the agreement.
Following is the verbatim English text of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza that was reached on Wednesday with Egyptian mediation. The text was distributed by the Egyptian presidency.
Agreement of Understanding For a Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip
1: (no title given for this section)
A. Israel should stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.
B. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.
C. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.
D. Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.
2: Implementation mechanisms:
A. Setting up the zero hour for the ceasefire understanding to enter into effect.
B. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.
C. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations Egypt as the sponsor of this understanding shall be informed to follow up.
(Reporting by Marwa Awad; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
That’s it. Now, this is a ceasefire agreement, but it is barely one. On the surface, the net result of this agreement is that nothing negative happens to Hamas except that it needs to stop firing weapons into Israel. Meanwhile, Israel concedes any and all possibilities of military action against any targets in the Gaza strip and pledges to relax restrictions on the borders and crossings. This appears to be a victory for Hamas, granting concessions that it did not have as of last week.
On the surface, it appears that the only way that the agreement could be positive for Israel is if the US made demands upon Egypt that are not included here and/or made agreements with Israel that are not included here. However, let us assume not.
Beneath the surface, there are three major positives for Israel here. First, Israel avoided a ground invasion which would have resulted in very high casualty totals. Second, Egypt has now become a guarantor of the peace which raises the stakes for Egypt and requires that Egypt act to stop smuggling of weapons into the Strip, meeting prior obligations. Third, Hamas is now seen as responsible for all factions in the Gaza Strip and all of their actions. It cannot now say, “That was Islamic Jihad, not us!” and get away with it. This would be seen as a violation of the agreement.
It would appear that further negotiations will take place and that the agreement is not finalized.
Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with the families of all those who lost a loved one or suffered injuries, physical or psychological, during the past week of conflict. We pray for Shalom, peace and a renewed sense of well-being. For now, as we approach Thanksgiving Day, we are thankful that a new hope of Shalom appears to be settling upon Israel.