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Hamas sources: Long-term Gaza ceasefire on horizon

Senior Hamas figures note that a deal including significant easing of the Gaza blockade may be signed after the Eid al-Adha holiday.

Palestinians burn tires as they protest by the fence on the border between Gaza and Israel, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, June 8, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.
Palestinians burn tires as they protest by the fence on the border between Gaza and Israel, as seen from the Israeli side of the border, June 8, 2018. Photo by Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

Egyptian mediators have made significant progress in the indirect negotiations between Hamas and Israel and a ceasefire agreement could be signed by the end of next week, once the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha (“Festival of the Sacrifice”) ends, senior Hamas officials have told Israel Hayom.

According to the officials, the ceasefire understandings will include the restoration of long-term calm and a significant easing of the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

However, the officials said tensions are running high between Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sissi, and Egyptian intelligence head Kamal Abbas, who is serving as the go-between for Israel and Hamas.

Hamas, which is defined by the United States, Israel and other countries as a terrorist group, violently seized control over the Gaza Strip in 2007, routing rival Fatah. With Abbas’s Fatah in power in the West Bank, the two Palestinian parties are in a struggle against each other for control.

A senior member of Abbas’s staff warned that “as long as there is no internal Palestinian reconciliation, under which full control of Gaza would be transferred to the Palestinian Authority, no cease-fire agreement will take effect.”

However, Hamas claims that Abbas and the P.A. leadership in Ramallah are heaping obstacles on Hamas in an attempt to topple it.

Meanwhile, arson terrorism perpetrated by Gaza protesters continued on Sunday as two wildfires erupted in southern Israel as a result of firebomb balloons launched over the border. One fire raged in the Be’eri Forest and the second near Kibbutz Or HaNer.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett said on Sunday that “Hamas is trying to extort money out of Israel, like the Italian mafia. Anyone who caves to intimidation will lead us to war.”

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