Navy patrols off the coast of Gaza.
(photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
A senior Hamas official claimed Thursday that there has been significant progress in talks between Turkey and Israel over the establishment of a Gaza Strip seaport.
The unnamed official told London-based daily Al-Hayat that "Hamas has decided not to discuss the issue and to leave it to the Turks."
He added that "it seems that Israel is interested in decreasing the pressure on the Strip's residents and easing their path to rehabilitating Gaza out of fear of an explosion."
The official claimed that Israel is interested in Turkish involvement in Gaza regarding matters relating to rehabilitation and funding projects.
According to the report, Israel wishes to improve relations with Ankara, which have been strained since ten Turkish pro-Palestinian activists were killed by IDF commandos in the raid on the blockade-busting Mavi Marmara
flotilla ship in May 2010.
Hamas first issued the demand for a seaport and airport in Gaza during indirect negotiations with Israel at the end of Operation Protective Edge in Summer 2014.
In the 1993 Oslo Accords, the PLO and Israel agreed that a seaport and airport would be built in Gaza. At the time, an airport was established, however the Israel Air Force destroyed it on September 28, 2000.