Long-term arrangement with Hamas progressing; no return of remains of Goldin, Shaul

Israeli concessions likely to include more entry permits, wider fishing

Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City (photo credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA / REUTERS)
Palestinians take part in a rally marking the 31st anniversary of Hamas' founding, in Gaza City
Significant progress has been made toward reaching a long-term ceasefire arrangement between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, which will not include the return of the remains of soldiers Lt. Hadar Goldin and St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul.
The security cabinet was briefed on the arrangement by National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat, Channel 12 reported.
As part of the arrangement, which is being moderated by the Egyptians, Israel will increase the number of entry permits for Gazans for trade as well as increase the fishing zone off of the blockaded coastal enclave, which is currently set at 14 nautical miles. Infrastructure projects like the construction of a natural gas pipeline and increased medical assistance and equipment for hospitals are also reported to be part of Israel’s concessions.
In a speech at the IDC Herzliya last week, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi said he recognized a “unique opportunity” in Gaza and that one of the military’s roles is to ensure that there are periods without war.
“I recognize a unique opportunity in Gaza. There is a strong will not to bring about an escalation of tensions on the part of Hamas and it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad under the leadership of its now-dead commander Bahaa Abu al-Ata that were responsible for the vast majority of attacks on Israel in the past year.”
Hamas, he said, wants to improve the welfare of its citizens and Israel is “in the process of assisting the Egyptians within which we will facilitate civilian relief. This is the policy of the Israeli government and I support it.
“Winning wars isn’t enough,” he said. “We have to manage security in a way that doesn’t test the public every two or three years. We have to make sure that we reach a decisive result that ensures that there will be an interval of deterrence.”
Touching on the thousands of rockets launched from Gaza in the past year toward the South, Kochavi said Hamas had stopped the majority of attacks.
“Every time there’s a rocket siren interrupting the night or the party, or the Shabbat dinner, people say there’s no security,” he said. “But I differentiate between security and feeling of security. Security is first and foremost before the feeling of security. But we need to give people a feeling of security. And I am working non-stop on that.”
According to the top military officer, while war is always the last resort after all diplomatic solutions have been exhausted, “sometimes war is a solution.”
And when the order is given, “when we act, we will always be in a just moral position of acting with the purpose of defense rather than offense. And once we have been forced to reach this situation, we will not hesitate to employ the full force of the IDF.”