Israel and Hamas have both agreed to an open ended ceasefire in the seven-week Gaza war, which has claimed the lives of more than 2,200 people killed, Palestinians taking the majority of the body count.
The two sides have settled for an ambiguous interim agreement in exchange for a period of peace. Despite taking severe losses, Hamas still has enough military strength to retain control of Gaza, while Israel and Egypt will continue to control access into the blockaded region, regardless of Hamas’ long-running demand that the border controls imposed since 2007 be lifted.
At the very least however, the condition for Israel is to ease the Gaza blockade and allow in aid and building materials. Mark Regev, a spokesman for the Israeli government said “Let’s hope that this ceasefire holds.”
The US appears to fully support the deal, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying “We strongly support the ceasefire announcement.”
On Hamas’s side, they declared the ceasefire as a victory. Spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said at a news conference said, “We are here today to declare the victory of the resistance, the victory of Gaza, with the help of God, and the steadfastness of our people and the noble resistance.”
However, if this is a Hamas victory, it is certainly a Pyrrhic one, with 2,143 Palestinians killed, 11,000 wounded and 100,000 homeless. Also beforehand, Hamas had said that it would not agree to a ceasefire unless the blockade was lifted.
But Israeli pressure on the group had been coming down hard, with Israeli military saying that they had destroyed most of Hamas’s network of military tunnels, and believed to have left Hamas with only one-third of its initial rocket arsenal of 10,000.
In a month, talks will begin on more complex issues, including the Hamas demand to build an airport and a seaport according to an Islamic Jihad official.