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New war in Gaza more likely than a medium-term ceasefire, says NGO

Under present conditions, a new war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas is more likely than a medium-term ceasefire between them or successful reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas, based on the easing of the blockade or the payment of employee's salaries, states a report by the conflict-resolution NGO International Crisis Group.

The report was released Wednesday on the first anniversary of the cease-fire that ended the 50-day war in Gaza.

According to the report, neither Israel nor Hamas considers a new war "imminent", but both understand that an eventual resumption of fighting is likely if conditions do not significantly change.

The reports states that the root causes that precipitated the war are still there, such as the financial crisis, internal political issues and the blockade.

On top of this, Hamas may find itself facing growing internal challenges including- Salafi-jihadi attacks, a collapse of government services, popular protests – from which war may appear to be an exit that offers a chance to consolidate power, reestablish military credentials and perhaps relax the closure by reaching a new ceasefire agreement.

The report criticised Israel's continued constrictions on Gaza and periodic wars, noting they had weakened the PA, strengthened Hamas and helped make successful diplomacy "almost impossible".

It added that "allowing Gazans to export goods, tax themselves and freely exit and enter the territory would at least offer Israelis and Palestinians the possibility of less bloodshed, while other possibilities, including unblocking the diplomatic impasse, are explored."

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