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Main points of long-term Gaza ceasefire

2014-08-26 22:31

Ramallah - Israel and Hamas accepted an Egyptian proposal for a long-term ceasefire in war-torn Gaza on Tuesday in a move to end 50 days of bloodshed.

Here are the main points of the Egyptian proposal as explained by Azzam al-Ahmed, lead Palestinian negotiator in the truce talks.

Border crossings

The agreement provides for an immediate easing of restrictions on the two main crossings between Israel and Gaza to allow in aid and reconstruction supplies.

The move would facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid and food as well as medical supplies and materials to repair key infrastructure including the water network, the electricity grid and mobile phone networks.

Erez in the north is the main crossing for people wanting to enter Israel to reach the West Bank or Jordan, while Kerem Shalom in the south is the only terminal for the entry of goods.

Although the commercial crossing has been open for much of the conflict, the entry of certain goods has been restricted.

Fishing limits

Restrictions imposed on Gaza fishermen are to be relaxed, with an immediate extension of the fishing zone to six nautical miles from the shore, to be extended later to 12 miles.

With the outbreak of fighting, Israel imposed a total ban on fishing but eased it on 17 August, allowing boats to go out to sea for up to three nautical miles.

Under the 1994 Oslo Accord, Gaza fishermen were permitted to fish up to 20 nautical miles from the shore but the limit has been drastically cut by Israel, particularly following rocket fire or other militant attacks.

Prisoners

The Egyptian proposal foresees discussion of a number of as yet unresolved issues, including a future prisoner swap deal.

Such an arrangement would involve the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel in exchange for militants handing over the remains of two Israeli soldiers killed in the fighting.

Hamas wants hundreds of prisoners released, among them those arrested in a major Israeli arrest campaign in the West Bank in June and around 60 who were released in a 2011 prisoner swap deal then re-arrested.

They are also want the freeing of 37 Palestinian MPs, all but two of whom are Hamas members, along with another 26 prisoners whom Israel refused to release earlier this year in the context of a failed US-led peace initiative.

Gaza port and airport

A key Hamas demand for the reopening of Gaza's airport and its seaport will be discussed in negotiations which will take place in Cairo within the next month.

The blockade and demilitarisation

The deal provides for a lifting of Israel's eight-year blockade on Gaza, which was imposed in 2006 and tightened a year later.

There were no specific details on issues such as restriction of construction materials or a resumption of exports to the West Bank and overseas.

Israel has linked the lifting of the blockade and the reconstruction of Gaza to the disarming of militant groups in a demand flatly refused by the Palestinians.

Israel has said it will raise the issue of demilitarisation and preventing Hamas from rearming at talks in Cairo in the coming month.

AFP

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