The Gaza-Israel conflict looks like it’s heading toward a period of calm. NPR reports:
Israel and Hamas [Gaza’s ruling regime] are taking initial steps toward an agreement to calm hostilities — and it’s allowing thousands of Palestinians from Gaza to go work in Israel daily.All Things Considered, January 13, 2020
So quiet in exchange for quiet, which means Hamas, which is a militant group, is agreeing to prevent rocket attacks on Israel and to prevent confrontations with Israeli soldiers at the Israeli fence separating Israel from Gaza. So we’re not going to see any more fiery kites and rock-throwing, and protests there are on hold. And in return, Israel is starting to let Gaza breathe a little, and it’s relaxing restrictions that they put on Gaza for years ever since Hamas took power there.NPR’s Daniel Estrin, January 13, 2020
(Actually, Hamas is a Jihadi terrorist group — much more than militant. Hamas is an Arabic acronym for Islamic Resistance Movement.)
This pause eases up pressure and tension. Gaza has been on the edge of collapsing, even its own people exploding against Hamas.
But, a Hamas spokesman said, “It’s not a cease-fire. It’s not an agreement. It’s quiet for quiet.” It’s clear to Hamas that this is an “understanding. “Such fragile understandings are usually brokered by neighboring Egypt and by the United Nations according to Al Jazeera.
Whatever you want to call this indirect agreement, [i]t’s very different from Israel’s longtime policy to isolate Hamas and break its hold on Gaza. Instead, Hamas and average Gazans are getting some relief.NPR’s Daniel Estrin, January 20, 2020
After Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007, Israel blocked most Palestinians from crossing the fortified border to go to jobs in Israel. That crushed Gaza’s economy. Over the last few years, Israel has gradually issued more work permits to Gazans and recently speeded that up to a record high. Now more than 5,000 Palestinians from Gaza are being allowed into Israel.NPR’s Daniel Estrin, January 20, 2020
The border crossing between Gaza and Israel is now open for those who can get permits. They’re now bringing home wages from work in Israel, although it’s a drop in the bucket for about 2 million people. These workers are bringing in Israeli shekels because Hamas and the Palestinian Authority do not mint their own currency.
The Middle East Monitor (MEMO) reports on other goodwill gestures by Israel. Israel has been lessening the embargo of Gaza by permitting the import of cement and vehicle tires. Furthermore, fishermen have been allowed to buy fishing boats, and drivers have been allowed to buy passenger buses.
Medicines donated by an American organization worth $600,000 have also entered Gaza.
According to MEMO, Israeli media reported that Israel has allowed cooking gas and pesticides to enter Gaza.
The head of the Palestinian Businessmen Association in Gaza predicted that if Israel continues with the current approach, Gaza could move toward economic recovery in 2020 and the living conditions of residents could improve (January 9, 2020).
In another vein, MEMO reports that Gazan farmers are gaining access to plant crops near the border fence between Gaza and Israel where they were previously excluded for the sake of Israel’s security. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has cleared unexploded ordnance and other war material from several fields and helped to rehabilitate them. Crops planted last August are expected to be harvested this May. According to the ICRC, roughly 580 farmers have regained access to their land. (February 5, 2020)
Israel has for years designated a strip, between 100 and 300 meters wide, along its 25 mile-long border fence as off-limits to Gazans. Israel cites security concerns since Gaza has been ruled by Hamas terrorists.
Egypt has [also] opened its border for travel out of Gaza. And Qatar is supporting poor families. Israel is boosting electricity to Gaza to reduce daily power cuts and letting fishermen venture farther out into the Mediterranean. And for the first time since Hamas took control in Gaza, Israel is allowing snacks made in Gaza to be exported overseas.NPR’s Daniel Estrin, January 20, 2020
However, Al Jazeera now reports that two rockets were launched from Gaza into Israel on February 15, 2020. Israel announced it would cancel the easing of restrictions on Gaza as a response to these two rocket attacks. “Israeli security officials warned of a “harsh military response” if attacks from the Gaza Strip did not stop (February 16, 2020).
These are the latest attacks, many occurring since U.S. President Trump announced a peace plan for Israel and Palestinians on January 28, 2020.
Except for NPR, Western journalists have not been reporting on Israel’s easing of restrictions on Gaza or Egypt’s. Perhaps you can find coverage by the Associated Press, Reuters, The New York Times, or The Washington Post.
A Gazan economy that recovers and interlocks with Israel’s may tame terrorist Hamas, a jihadi enterprise. And if living conditions for Gazans improve, this may motivate Hamas, as it governs Gaza, to rein in rogue elements who fire mortar shells into Israel.
All Things Considered, “An Opening Between Israel and Gaza — For Now,”
January 13, 2020.
All Things Considered, “Israel-Hamas Aim To Reduce Hostilities As Gaza Restraints Eased,” January 20, 2020.
Also see these articles from MEMO:
“Gaza farmers return to their lands along volatile Israel fence,” February 5, 2020.
“Israel allows cement entry to Gaza without UN observers,” January 29, 2020.
“Israel’s steps to ease Gaza blockade point to longer-term truce,” January 9, 2020.
And from Al Jazeera:
“Israeli security officials warned of a ‘harsh military response’ if attacks from the Gaza Strip did not stop,” February 16, 2020 (article seems to no longer be online).
“Hamas says Israel move to tighten blockade will increase tensions: Israel says it has cancelled an easing of restrictions on the besieged Gaza Strip after rockets fired from territory,” February 16, 2020.