Today, Israel will reopen the primary border crossing with the Gaza Strip and revive fishing zones after a tentative ceasefire sponsored by Egypt and the UN emerged on Saturday.
The border regions have been closed since July 9, when Israel accused Palestinians of setting off balloons filled with explosives, causing damage to agriculture on the Israeli coast. July has been a violent month between Gaza and Israel—both parties have launched dozens of aerial strikes on each other, resulting in 140 reported Palestinian deaths.
Saturday’s deal is a result of Hamas succumbing to the threat of a full-fledged Israeli military offensive, which would have compromised its artillery capabilities in the Gaza Strip.
Egypt was able to pressure Hamas not to target Israel in this instance. Engaging in more offensives towards Israel would signal a strengthening in capabilities, perhaps supported by Palestinian Islamic Jihad—a Salafi-jihadi terrorist organization seeking to replace Israel with an independent Islamic Palestinian state— as the Israeli military suspects. This could easily spark a dramatic escalation of violence.
Expect the relative peace achieved for the first time since the first air-borne explosives were deployed in March to be marred by ongoing tension between Gaza’s rulers and Israel.
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Bibi contributes to our analysis of European affairs for The Daily Brief. She also serves as a copy editor for the publication.