A senior Hamas official said on Sunday that there was no progress in the arrangement talks with Israel, there were no understandings or exchanges of offers through the Egyptians, and as long as there was no written deal, any agreement would be fragile and non-binding.
But the eastern Jerusalem daily Al-Quds on Monday quoted Hamas sources who say Israel has decided on a series of economic improvements for the Gaza Strip in an effort to boost its negotiations with Hamas and the terrorist factions in the Gaza Strip.
According to the Al-Quds report, after Hamas’s decision to curb the demonstrations at the Gaza Strip border fence, Israel rewarded the move by allowing shipments of new tires into the Gaza Strip (hopefully the rioters won’t burn them), as well as approving formerly contraband materials such as fiberglass and barbwire, for use by Gaza fishermen. Of course, the same materials can eventually be used in weapons manufacturing.
Last Thursday, the organizing committee of the weekly Gaza border demonstrations released its activity plan for 2020, according to which the riots will be held once a month – except for special riots “whenever there’s the need for public presence and on prominent national events.”
The plan will take effect at the end of March 2020, concurrent with Land Day and the second anniversary of the first fence riot, in March 2018.
Last Friday, some 2,700 Gaza rioters reached the border fence, a relatively low number compared to previous riots, and Hamas did not organize their transportation. It’s not clear whether Hamas paid the rioters who sustained an injury in confrontation with IDF soldiers.
According to the Al-Quds report, Israel will allow an increase in the Gaza agricultural produce exported to Arab and European countries.
On Sunday, the Netanyahu political-security cabinet discussed the arrangement in the Gaza Strip.
Fallen soldier Hadar Goldin’s brother, Tzur, attacked the negotiations with Hamas and said that his family had been informed that those did not include the return of the bodies of the fallen soldiers and the captive Israeli civilians.
So still no backbone on Netanyahu’s side.
On Saturday, the Hezbollah affiliated Lebanese newspaper Al-Achbar cited sources in the Civil Affairs Division in the Hamas government in Gaza, who said that after more than a decade long ban, Israel would allow about 5,000 Gazans to enter Israel to work. This despite the fact that Hamas has not undertaken to refrain from pushing terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria.
And so every Gazan worker will henceforth be a potential Hamas agent who can deliver instructions and money to Hebron, the Hamas stronghold in Judea.
Israel’s goal is to make life easier in the Gaza Strip and reduce the high unemployment rate among local young people. However, according to the sources, the Israeli cabinet’s decision is only in principle, and the actual number of Gaza workers is still up in the air. Both Israel and Hamas maintain ambiguity about their deal, for fear that the agreement would not be implemented if it is publicized.
Meanwhile, away from the Israeli public’s awareness, Israel is building a new high-voltage power line for the Gaza Strip, and allowing strawberry exports from Gaza. That last part is actually an improvement for Israelis, seeing as the current price for a kg of strawberries hovers between 40 and 50 shekels.
So, quietly, the two parties are moving towards the arrangement, which will also include the establishment of an industrial zone in the Gaza Strip.
And the bodies of two Jewish soldiers are still kept in a Hamas refrigerator.