Reports in the media are talking about a possible five-year term ceasefire between the Israeli regime and Hamas.
A long-term ceasefire would be an extension of the temporary truce reached in the summer of 2014 at the end of the brutal war on Gaza through indirect negotiations in the Egyptian capital Cairo.
Hamas officials have reportedly said that the five year extension period, in accordance with a Qatari proposal, is expected soon through Western diplomatic mediation.
The Palestinian daily Al Quds, in June, reported a visit by Hamas representative Mousa Abu Marzouk to Doha to finish off a long term truce with the Israeli regime.
However, senior Hamas official Salah Bardawil has denied such reports. “There are no such contacts for a long-term period of calm under the auspices of any country," he said.
The terms the Palestinians are demanding include the easing of the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip and the establishment of a floating seaport off its coast in addition to an airport that would allow direct access to the outside world.
While it may seem that the Palestinians would be getting the best of the ceasefire, the Israeli regime will reap the benefit of the Qatari-brokered truce. Such a prospect would provide the Israeli regime with security. Rockets fired by Hamas and other resistance groups from Gaza during the war inflicted losses on the Israeli regime and destabilized its internal scene. A long-term truce would guarantee a halt to the rocket showers at a minimal cost, an objective they were unable to accomplish in previous pricey wars when they attempted to defeat Hamas and failed. Another conflict in the near future would drain its budget.
Mohammad al-Ahmadi, a senior Qatari diplomat, after discussing a truce extension with Yoav Mordechai, an Israeli Major-General, quoted him as saying: “No one wants rockets fired at Israel. Hamas is weak and tired.”
The Qatari stance has been criticized as double-faced diplomacy. While pledging financial aid and verbal support for Gaza, the Qataris among other Arab states have failed the Palestinians in refraining from taking a clear anti-Israeli position.
If the truce is indeed extended, not only would it affect Hamas but also other resistance factions such as the Islamic Jihad. Even if these groups do not sign the agreement, they would be forced to comply with the stipulations as a result of Arab-exerted pressure.
While rumors of a 5 -year truce are yet to be corroborated, Gaza is still bearing the wounds of a war that lasted 51 days but the consequences of which will last much longer. More than 2,000 Palestinians have been killed, 100,000 have been left homeless, and much of the strip remains in ruins. Truce or not, healing the wounds of Gaza will take quite some time.