By Baruch Yedid
Hamas has presented Israel with a new ultimatum and is demanding that Israel remove the cellphone blockers it has installed in the security prisons.
The Israel Prison Service (IPS) has recently installed cell phone blockers inside the prisons that prevent terrorists who have smuggled phones to maintain contact with their terror groups. The convicts have reacted with rage, and even terror attacks inside the prison.
Hamas claims that the cell phone blockers endanger the health of prisoners.
The terror group is also demanding that Israel remove the sanctions it has imposed on Hamas’ prisoners, that Israel enable the resumption of family visits and improve the conditions in the prisons.
The incarcerated Hamas prisoners have announced that they will commence with a gradual hunger strike if their demands are not met. Hamas says that a few hundred will begin to strike, and higher ranking members will join over time.
Hamas says it has some 1,400 members incarcerated in Israeli prisons.
Hamas is demanding that Israel comply with its demands immediately and even before the elections, attempting to leverage the momentum it has gained during the recent contacts with Israel and ahead of a possible ceasefire between the two sides.
The Hamas is threatening to act harshly if Israeli authorities force-feed the striking prisoners.
PA Condemns Hamas for Talking with Israel
In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority (PA) is condemning Hamas for maintaining contacts with Israel and promoting the “treason and shame agreement,” as it calls the pending ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas.
The PA mocked Hamas’ achievements as inferior to those the PA achieved while negotiating with Israel in the past and says that Hamas has paid a very high price in blood, some 250 killed on the Gaza fence in violence meant to pressure Israel into concessions.
Fatah officials have stated that Hamas has agreed not to fire rockets at Israel and that it will maintain the 300-meter security parameter on the Gazan border and stay away from the security fence.
PA officials also claim that Hamas and Israel have established a coordination mechanism under Egypt’s auspices.
Israel will enable the entry of Qatari funds into Gaza, but Hamas has committed to having their distribution monitored. Hamas has also committed itself to keeping tabs on other anti-Israel elements within Gaza and to ensuring that “dual use” materials that can be used for terrorism will be used solely for constructive purposes.
After calm is achieved, Israel will establish workplaces for Gazans.
Ahmed Majdalani, a senior PLO official and an aide to PA head Mahmoud Abbas, slammed the agreement as one which “degrades the Palestinian people and insults its honor.”
Ramallah is claiming that the agreement between Israel and Hamas is broader than report and that Israel is enabling Hamas to enter the diplomatic arena.