Israel-Gaza crisis: What are the terms of the peace deal and what do both sides want?

The 50-day war was fuelled by long-standing issues between Gaza and Israel

Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday 27 August 2014 16:47 BST
Palestinians celebrate what they said was a victory by Palestinians in Gaza over Israel following a ceasefire, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 26
Palestinians celebrate what they said was a victory by Palestinians in Gaza over Israel following a ceasefire, in the West Bank city of Ramallah on August 26 (AFP/Getty Images)

The peace in Gaza has so far held since Israel and Hamas declared a truce while the terms of a peace deal brokered by Egypt are agreed.

Although the 50-day conflict started with Operation Protective Edge, an Israeli operation to stop rocket attacks from Gaza, the aims of both sides are little changed since a previous ceasefire in 2012.

As part of the latest deal, both sides have agreed to address more complex issues underpinning the cycle of violence, including the release of Palestinian prisoners and Gaza's demands for a sea port, with further talks starting in a month.

What immediate steps are being taken to maintain peace?

Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza have agreed to halt all rocket and mortar fire into Israel, which in turn will stop all military action including air strikes and ground operations.

What short-term changes are in the terms of the truce?

Israel will agree to open more of its border crossings with Gaza to allow an easier flow of goods, including humanitarian aid and reconstruction equipment. This was also part of a ceasefire agreement after the last conflict between Israel and Hamas in November 2012 but was never fully implemented.

In a separate agreement, Egypt will agree to open its eight-mile crossing into Gaza at Rafah.

Who will control the reopened entry points?

The Palestinian Authority, headed by ousted President Mahmoud Abbas, is expected to take over responsibility for administering Gaza's borders from Hamas.

Israel and Egypt hope it will ensure weapons, ammunition and any “dual-use” goods are prevented from entering Gaza.

They also expect tight monitoring of imports of construction materials like cement and cast iron to make sure they are used to rebuild or build homes rather than tunnels that have been used to attack Israel.

Palestinians inspect the remains of the destroyed Basha Tower on 26 August 2014

How is Gaza going to be rebuilt after the bombing?

The Palestinian Authority will lead coordination of the reconstruction effort with international donors including the European Union, Qatar, Turkey and Norway.

Is Israel making any other concessions for Palestinians in Gaza?

It is expected to narrow the security buffer - a no-go area for Palestinians that runs along the inside of the Gaza border - reducing it from 300 metres to 100 meters if the truce holds. The move will allow Palestinians more access to farm land close to the border.

Israel will extend the fishing limit off Gaza's coast to six miles from three, with the possibility of widening it gradually if the truce holds, but the Palestinians want to return to a full 12-mile international allowance.

This was also part of the previous ceasefire deal in 2012, and was briefly implemented before being rescinded in March 2013.

Two Palestinian fishermen paddle their small boat a few hundred yards off the beach in Gaza City

What requests has Hamas made?

The group wants Israel to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners rounded up in the occupied West Bank following the abduction and killing of three Jewish students in June.

Hamas initially denied involvement in the killings, but a senior official in exile in Turkey last week admitted the group did carry out the attack.

One of its major aims is having a sea port built in Gaza, allowing goods and people to be ferried in and out of the coastal enclave.

Israel has long rejected the plan citing security concerns but it is possible that progress towards it could be made if there are absolute guarantees

In antiquity, Gaza was a major port in the eastern Mediterranean and a critical point for spice trading. There have been plans to build a new port since the Oslo peace accords in the mid-1990s, but no progress has been made.

Hamas also wants its funds to be unfrozen to allow it to pay 40,000 police, government workers and other administrative staff who have largely been without salaries since last year. The funds were withheld by the Palestinian Authority.

What does the Palestinian Authority want?

President Abbas, who was forcibly ousted by Hamas in 2007, wants to return as leader of the Palestinian Authority.

His Fatah party wants freedom for long-serving Palestinian prisoners whose release was dropped after the collapse of previous peace talks with Israel.

The Palestinians also want the airport in Gaza to be rebuilt and opened. Yasser Arafat International opened in 1998 but was shut down in 2000 after it was bombed by Israel.

Rockets being fired by Palestinian militants from the Gaza strip into Israel

What does Israel want in the long-term?

Israel wants Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza to hand over all body parts and personal effects of Israeli soldiers killed during the war.

The Government has said in recent weeks said it wants the full “demilitarisation” of Gaza and an end to the prospect of rocket attacks and possible terror attacks in Israel.

The United States and European Union have supported the goal, but it remains unclear what it would mean in practice and Hamas has rejected it as unfeasible.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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