(September 4, 2018 / MEMRI) In recent weeks, indirect contacts and negotiations have been taking place between Israel and Hamas, with Egyptian, Qatari and U.N. mediation, aimed at achieving an “arrangement” for a long-term ceasefire allowing the easing of restrictions on Gaza and the provision of humanitarian relief. Some proposals also include the launching of economic enterprises for Gaza’s benefit, such as the construction of a seaport and airport and the rebuilding of infrastructures.
Alongside these talks, Egyptian elements have been working to promote the Fatah-Hamas reconciliation and to restore Gaza to the control of the Palestinian Authority (P.A.).
Amid these developments, a change has occurred in the discourse of Hamas, which has begun legitimizing the contacts with Israel. After years of attacking Fatah and the P.A. for their security coordination and talks with Israel and for halting the armed struggle against it, Hamas officials have begun stressing the need for indirect negotiations with the occupation and for a long-term ceasefire with it.
This change was first apparent in late June on social media, as pro-Hamas journalists and activists in Gaza began posting messages in favor of a deal with Israel; these posts may have been intended to assess the public mood and its response to the idea. For example, pro-Hamas journalist Ibrahim Al-Madhoun, who writes on Hamas websites, wrote on his Facebook page on June 21: “I believe that Hamas will not oppose any deal in which Gaza will be freed and the siege will be lifted [by building] a seaport and airport, a prisoner exchange deal will be made, and the weapons will be stilled by means of a ceasefire, without relinquishing a single right of the Palestinian people … ”
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