The cease-fire was still holding Wednesday, and that was good news in a conflict beset by breaches by Hamas and the other militant resistance groups operating in the Gaza Strip.
Israeli drones could still be heard flying circles overhead, but there was no rocket or missile fire. In Gaza, fishermen went further out to sea than they have in years, and farmers were allowed to work fields close to the Israel fence line.
After seven weeks of intense fighting that’s killed more than 2,000 people, Hamas and Israel have announced a long-term cease-fire deal.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made the announcement in Ramallah on Tuesday, saying both sides will return to the negotiating table to deal with other demands. Abbas suggested he wanted an outcome that ends the cycle of war in the region.
The BBC reports “Palestinian negotiators said “Israel had agreed to ease its blockade of Gaza to allow in aid supplies and building materials.”
Haaretz reports that the terms do not include “a seaport, an airport” nor “the release of prisoners.”
NPR’s Emily Harris reports that a senior Israeli official says the big difference between this cease-fire and others is that this one is open-ended.
The official said if the cease-fire is respected, Israel will reconsider its blockade. Broader peace talks, the official said, will restart “pretty quickly” in Cairo. Once there, an Israeli delegation will talk about demilitarizing Gaza.
It’s important to remember that other cease-fire deals have quickly dissipated. In fact, minutes after the cease-fire was supposed to begin, Al Jazeera reported that rocket alarms were still sounding in Israel.
Let’s compare the Israeli government’s reaction to
A) Hamas (after the collapse of peace talks, the formation of the unity Palestinian government, the kidnapping and murder of 3 Israeli teens, and the rockets fired into Israel) which led to a nearly 2 month long bombing campaign, ground invasion, and killing over 2,000 Palestinians in Gaza (the West Bank was mostly ignored in the media after the war started)
B) with news this week that ISIS (some report it was not ISIS but another Syrian rebel group) had captured a border crossing in the Golan Heights.
Islamist opposition fighters in Syria, including members of an Al Qaeda affiliate, took control of the Quneitra crossing point on the demarcation line with the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, activists said on Wednesday. [August 27]
The move could bring Islamist forces within 200 yards of territory controlled by Israel.
The Israeli military said one soldier and an Israeli civilian were wounded by “errant fire” from the clashes at Quneitra on Wednesday, prompting an artillery barrage against two Syrian Army positions in the Golan Heights — the latest of several occasions when Syria’s civil war has spilled into Israel, prompting retaliation. Israel has said it has no interest in further involvement in the fighting. (emphasis mine)
Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser, said reports of the Nusra Front taking control of the Quneitra crossing could be “very significant” if the group managed to link that position to its stronghold in Dara’a, in southern Syria, and other areas.
But Mr. Amidror, who served under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said Israel should not interfere in the conflict and should respond only if attacked or to provide humanitarian assistance to wounded people on the demarcation line.
Shelling on the Golan Heights: Syria Testing Israel’s Resolve? Fierce fighting across the border around Quneitra; the crossing may now be in rebel hands. Bad news for Israel?
Although an open-ended cease-fire is in force with Gaza, two people were wounded in northern Israel on Wednesday in the course of three shelling attacks from Syria.
It was the third attack in a single day, the most intensive shelling from Syria in months. No one was physically injured and no property damage was reported in the attack.
Hours earlier, in the morning, an IDF officer was moderately wounded and two Israeli vehicles were damaged in a similar attack. A barrage of Syrian mortar shells was fired from across the border – again, from the Quneitra area.
The IDF attacked two Syrian positions in response to the mortar fire. IDF officials said Jerusalem holds the Syrian army responsible for maintaining order on the Syrian side of the border.
At least two of the three opposition factions involved in the war have vowed to dedicate themselves to Israel’s destruction when they have ‘completed their task’ in Syria. One of those is the Islamic State, or ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.)
The IDF has ordered farmers and civilians to stay away from the border and part of the area has been closed to civilians as a precaution.
It is an understatement to say that the reaction is different.
Hamas builds tunnels and forms a unity government and is accused of kidnapping 3 Israeli teens?
- Israel kills more than 2,000 people in Gaza (as well as arrests and injuries in the West Bank)
Syrian rebels, possibly Al Qaeda-linked capture a border crossing in Syria along the border with Israel?
- Israel closes the border and tells farmers to stay away.