(November 11, 2018 / JNS) Israel and Qatar have begun planning a maritime trade route between the Gaza Strip and Cyprus, Lebanese media reported on Saturday.
According to reports, the shipping route will be closely monitored by Israel and will include sophisticated security measures, including cameras and electronic sensors.
Israeli media reported in June that Israel and Cyprus were looking into developing a similar plan in hopes of alleviating the dire economic crisis in Gaza.
Gaza has been under an Israeli maritime blockade since 2007, when the Hamas terrorist group seized control of the Strip in a military coup. Israel maintains the blockade is necessary to prevent Hamas from smuggling weapons and terrorists in and out of Gaza.
On Thursday, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-Hayat reported that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi convinced Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas to sign off on a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas, after months in which the Palestinian leader had been actively trying to torpedo such a deal.
Cairo has been trying to mediate a truce between Israel and Hamas for the past several months, in an effort to prevent a series of escalating border flare-ups from devolving into a full-fledged war.
According to reports in Lebanon over the weekend, the shipping route plan would be part of the economic relief measures offered to Hamas as part of the Egyptian-brokered deal.