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Report: Egypt works to alleviate Hamas scepticism of Israel commitment to truce

Entire buildings have been reduced to rubble after the air strikes unleashed by Israel. 14 November 2018, Gaza [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]
Entire buildings have been reduced to rubble after the air strikes unleashed by Israel. 14 November 2018, Gaza [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Egyptian officials’ successful intervention to help end last week’s escalation in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip came “despite Hamas’ scepticism of Israel’s commitment to a ceasefire that was subsequently reached”, a source close to the Palestinian group told Mada Masr.

According to a source close to Hamas’ leadership cited by the paper, during a meeting with the Egyptian intelligence officers last Thursday, Hamas officials in attendance — including Yahya Al-Sinwar, Taher al-Nouno and Khalil Al-Hayya — “expressed fears of an imminent assassination attempt conducted by Israel, in a potential precursor to more violence”.

The source adds that Hamas’ leaders told the delegation that they are “used to Israel backstabbing [Hamas] after every agreement”, and referenced the extrajudicial execution of senior Al-Qassam Brigades figure Ahmed Al-Jaabari in 2012.

READ: Gaza homes damaged in latest Israeli incursion

Hamas leaders informed Egypt that, if Israel attempted “any kind of backstabbing”, the group would retaliate with a repeat of the rocket fire seen last week.

In Thursday’s meeting, Egyptian officials — “who heavily pressured Hamas to declare a ceasefire last week” — attempted to “reassure Hamas leaders by reiterating Israel’s affirmation to Egypt that parties will return to truce talks if the first few days of the ceasefire remain peaceful”.

Cairo, the source says, “also assured Hamas’ leaders that Qatari aid money will continue to flow into Gaza, as per the truce agreement reached prior to the latest escalation”.

“Israel will provide Gaza with a 100-megawatt share of power from one of its electricity lines, Egypt confirmed, and will allow an increase of the permitted fishing zone for Gazan fishermen from nine to 20 nautical miles”, Mada Masr added.

“It will also grant permits for traders to enter Gaza and will allow previously banned materials into the Strip,” including materials necessary for construction.

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