TEL AVIV – The current version of a truce between Israel and Islamist forces in the Gaza Strip being brokered by Egypt provides Hamas with numerous concessions the Islamic group has been seeking since the start of the Gaza conflict, WND has learned.
Among the concessions are the opening of a border crossing, the loosening of Israel’s naval blockade and talks about releasing terrorists captured in recent weeks.
While Israel didn’t agree to all terms being discussed between Egypt and Hamas, it also didn’t immediately object to discussion on the specific issues, an Egyptian diplomat involved in the talks told WND.
According to the Egyptian official, there are currently two deals being negotiated at the same time.
The first deal calls for an immediate cessation of all Hamas rocket attacks and a halt to Israel’s military campaign targeting Hamas’s infrastructure in Gaza while a long-term cease-fire is discussed.
Once a short-term truce is implemented, a longer-term cease-fire will be immediately negotiated with the goal of reaching a long-term truce within days.
At first, Hamas objected to any short-term cease-fire and said it would only discuss a long-term truce.
Egypt’s newfound willingness to host Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal in Cairo, however, worked to soften Hamas’ position, and the Islamist group agreed to the possibility of a short-term cease-fire, the diplomat said.
Until now, Hamas has been frustrated that Egypt was not dealing with it directly in any of the truce negotiations.
The truce is being negotiated with input from Qatar and Turkey, said the diplomat.
The current version of the draft truce contains these concessions to Hamas:
- Egypt’s reopening of Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, with the border possibly manned by Palestinian Authority security forces.
- Egyptian recognition that Hamas is a regional player to be dealt with directly.
- Qatar will provide funds to help pay the salaries of Hamas employees, a key concern for Hamas that may have helped lead to the current conflict in the first place.
- Israel releasing some of its naval blockade of Gaza and enlarging a “fishing zone” by several kilometers to give Hamas autonomy in the Mediterranean Sea bordering Gaza.
- An Egyptian pledge to talk with the Israelis about releasing 58 Hamas members arrested in the West Bank in recent weeks in response to the kidnap and murder of three Israeli teenagers.