(Excerpt from Op-Ed at http://www.israelnationalnews.com, published on Saturday, November 24, 2012.
Author: Ted Belman)
A close look at the wording of the agreement and what it implies – and doesn’t imply.
The “ceasefire agreement” is no agreement at all. Let’s look at the wording:
A. Israel should stop all hostilities in the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.
B. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.
C. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods and refraining from restricting residents’ free movements and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.
An agreement is constituted when both sides make commitments to each other. No commitments exist here. This document provides ” Israel should stop” etc. This is not a commitment to stop. A commitment would have read “Israel agrees to stop”.
The Palestinians on the other hand “shall stop…” . Normally one would use the same wording for both. The Use of “Shall” suggests it is a command rather than a Palestinian commitment.
The operative words in Para C are “opening” and “refraining” “shall be dealt with after 24 hours”. There is no agreement here other than a a stipulation that these issues are to be dealt with in the future. This is like a final status issue that is to be discussed later. The document doesn’t even say who shall deal with these issues.
Furthermore, the parties didn’t sign it. Why not? Israel can’t enter an agreement with “Palestine factions”, only with states. Israel didn’t want to appear to have concluded a deal with Hamas thereby elevating its stature. Thus each party ceased their shooting in the expectation that the other would also.
So far, these expectations have been met. The shooting has stopped.
But there appear to be an agreement between Egypt and Israel. At least expectations have been mooted that Egypt will act to stop the smuggling. Unfortunately, nothing has been announced on this score and perhaps there is no basis for it.
US and Israel may have an understanding, whether reduced to writing or not. Obama has suggested he will seek more funding for additional Iron Domes.
PM Netanyahu, when he announced the ceasefire said:
“Therefore I agreed with [US] President [Barack] Obama that we will work together against the smuggling of weapons – the vast majority of which comes from Iran – to the terrorist organizations.”