With truce, Israel talks to Hamas and Islamic Jihad

The cease-fire agreement doesn’t give Hamas any victory photos or immediate gains. Though Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Shalah and Hamas representative Izzat al-Rishq both heaped praise yesterday on the Palestinians’ heroism and their ability to stand fast against the Israeli army, Shalah listed the war’s achievements as “keeping the Palestinian problem from being forgotten,” “thwarting the Zionist enemy’s initiatives” and “destroying his deterrent capabilities.”

It’s hard to find any significant differences between the current agreement and Egypt’s original proposal, unless there’s a secret annex that hasn’t been published. Opening Gaza’s border crossings, allowing humanitarian aid and construction materials to enter and expanding the coastal fishing zone to six miles were already agreed on a month ago. There’s no commitment yet to building a port and airport in Gaza, and even opening the Gaza-Egypt border crossing at Rafah was left to separate talks between the Palestinians and the Egyptians. At this stage, the agreement largely replicates the understandings reached after the last Gaza operation in 2012. Thus ostensibly, Israel can say it achieved its goals: quiet in exchange for quiet and destroying the tunnels.