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TEL AVIV – The current version of the Egypt-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hamas has Hamas’ Fatah rivals taking over the border crossings between Egypt and the Gaza Strip, an Egyptian official told WND.
The official said the truce would allow Fatah’s militias to control the Egypt-Gaza borders, bringing Fatah back to the Gaza Strip in an official capacity for the first time since Hamas deposed Fatah from the territory in a 2007 military coup.
Israel has agreed to back the Egyptian proposal, while there is a debate within Hamas about accepting the renewed presence of Fatah forces in the Gaza Strip, the Egyptian official said.
Hamas’ military wing has entirely rejected the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire while the group’s political leaders largely accepted the truce, said the official.
Behind the scenes, Hamas is attempting to bring in Turkey and Qatar as mediators to broker a truce that would be more favorable toward Hamas, the official said. Israel for now is rejecting Turkey and Qatar as mediators.
While a short-term truce is being negotiated, WND reported earlier this week that among its conditions for a long-term cease-fire, Hamas is demanding its own corridor to the Mediterranean Sea as well as the reconstruction of an airport in the Rafah region of the Gaza Strip, according to Egyptian diplomatic sources.
Egypt is currently serving as a mediator between Israel and Hamas over Israel’s military campaign aimed at minimizing Hamas’ rocket infrastructure.
The conditions for an airport and sea access likely will be nonstarters for Israel, which fears Hamas attempts to rearm itself. Indeed, such free access to the Gaza Strip would likely negate Israel’s major gains in recent days in taking out Hamas’ rocket caches.
Rafah’s former airport, once known as the Yasser Arafat Airport, was bombed by Israel in 2001 during the height of the Second Palestinian Intifada.
Other Hamas conditions for a long-term truce, the Egyptian sources told WND, include a complete end to Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza, the reopening of the Egypt-Gaza crossings and the release of more than 60 Hamas officials arrested by Israel in the West Bank in response to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens.
The sources said it is Hamas that has rejected a short-term truce, believing it can still achieve a mass-casualty event inside Israel so it can emerge from the week-long confrontation with a so-called victory.