Amended Ceasefire Proposal Includes Terrorist Releases
The amendments to the Egyptian 11-point truce proposal submitted by the Palestinian Arab delegation in Cairo was revealed on Monday morning, hours ahead of the end of the current ceasefire at midnight.
The response to the Egyptian proposal submitted by the delegation, which includes Hamas, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Islamic Jihad, was published in the Palestinian Arab Sawa news agency and revealed by Walla!.
Comparing the document with the original 11-point proposal, the first clause calling for an immediate cessation of IDF action and strikes in Gaza remains untouched.
The second clause promising an end to attacks from Gaza on Israel remains as well - although the promise to stop the construction of terror tunnels is notably absent.
The third clause goes beyond the Egyptian proposal of Gaza Crossings being opened and specifically says "the blockade on Gaza will end." It also specifically calls for open trade between PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria with Gaza to include building materials, despite the use of cement to build terror tunnels.
It is worth noting that Hamas has clarified that any truce deal would be seen only as an opportunity to plan the next terror war on Israel.
The fourth clause adds to the call to have Israel coordinate with the PA about matters of finances and reconstruction of Gaza with matters of "the transfer of funds to different echelons," apparently in a return to the controversial proposal to have Israel pay the salaries of Hamas officials.
The fifth clause's call to eliminate the buffer zone on the Gaza side of the border is still present, but it no longer specifies that PA security forces will be deployed to secure the area starting January 1, 2015 as the Egyptian proposal stated. The buffer zone was meant to prevent terrorist infiltration into Israel.
The sixth clause still calls to expand the Gaza fishing zone to 12 nautical miles. Israel on Sunday lifted the ban of Gaza fishing to three nautical miles in a "goodwill" gesture, although the maximum zone in times of calm has been six nautical miles.
No notable change is discernible in the seventh clause, calling for Israel to assist in rebuilding Gaza's infrastructure and providing medical assistance.
Instead of calling for the PA, Israel and international organizations to provide basic products to rehabilitate Gaza and return displaced persons, the eighth clause now calls for the entry of building materials to Gaza to be eased according to a temporary defined schedule, still so as to return displaced persons. The change appears to remove some oversight in the process.
The ninth clause still has Egypt providing humanitarian aid and transferring funds to rebuild Gaza in a defined schedule, apparently referring to internationally donated funds gathered by Egypt and Norway.
The amendments drop the bombshell in an additional clause before the former tenth clause.
In the new tenth clause, the delegation calls for a "cancellation of the regulations that Israel fixed in the West Bank after June 12, 2014 (when the three Israeli teens were abducted and murdered), (including) the release of prisoners (arrested in Operation Brother's Keeper), particularly (Hamas) members of the (PA) parliament, and the release of the fourth batch of prisoners."
The last piece is a reference to the terrorist prisoner release "gestures" during the Israel-PA peace talks, which broke down in April before the last batch of terrorists was released, but after 78 terrorists had already gone free.
Clause eleven corresponds to the old tenth clause, saying talks will be completed in Cairo a month after the truce deal.
However, an important caveat was slipped into the clause, saying "afterwards the process of exchanging the prisoners and returning the two bodies (of Second Lt.Hadar Goldin and First Sgt. Oron Shaul hy''d) will be completed between the sides."
While AFP noted on Sunday that the return of the two bodies was being pushed off for the talks a month after the truce deal, it did not specify that the return of the bodies for a proper burial was being used as a trump card in pressing Israel to free terrorists.
The twelfth clause remains as the previous eleventh clause, saying discussions over establishing a sea and airport in Gaza will be held in the talks a month after a truce.
A final thirteenth clause is added in, saying "Egypt calls on both sides to uphold the understandings from 12:01 a.m. of August 14, 2014," a reference to the previous ceasefire extension in calling to maintain the lull in fighting.