Report: Israel Ready to Accept 'Open-Ended' Truce
Israel is set to accept an indefinite ceasefire with Gazan terrorist groups, which will last for a minimum of one month, unnamed security sources told Walla! news.
Barring any last-minuted developments, the Egyptian-brokered deal will go into effect today, according to the source, ushering in an "open-ended" ceasefire between Israel and Gazan terrorists, primarily Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
The reports seemingly corroborate this morning's claims by senior Islamic Jihad leaders that a truce would be reached "within hours". A Hamas spokesman rejected those claims, however.
According to the source, in the first stage of the ceasefire Egypt will open the Rafah Crossing with Gaza, in exchange for a cessation of rocket fire.
If the ceasefire holds, the second stage will see Israel extend the Gaza fishing zone - currently restricted to 0-3 miles from the coast for security reasons - first to six, and later 12 miles.
Israel will also open the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which has been shelled by terrorists on numerous occasions during Operation Protective Edge, and allow goods for trading to pass through, including food and, at a later stage, building materials.
The topic of building materials such as cement and metal entering Gaza is a sensitive one. The vast network of "terror tunnels" leading from Gaza into Israel in preparation for attacks on Israeli civilian and military targets were constructed by Hamas and Islamic Jihad using cement meant for building Gaza's civilian infrastructure.
However, the deal still relies on one unpredictable factor, according to another official: Hamas's Qatar-based "political leader" Khaled Mashaal. has successfully sabotaged previous ceasefire deals, allegedly under orders from his Qatari hosts.
He will need to accept this deal in order for it to come into effect - and it is far from certain he will. After the massive damage incurred in Gaza due to the war with Israel initiated by the area's Hamas rulers, a ceasefire without major Israeli concessions will be viewed as a humiliating defeat, and a serious blow to Hamas's popular image.
Meanwhile, despite rumors of an impending ceasefire, terrorists continued to pound southern Israeli communities with rocket fire, shooting dozens of projectiles at civilian population centers.
Several rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, and a number of others fell in open fields. No injuries or damage was reported.
The IDF continued its strikes on Gaza terrorist targets. Overnight two terrorists were killed in a series of strikes, which have continued into Monday morning.