Palestinians supporting Hamas chant slogans during a rally celebrating Hamas student supporters winning the student council election at Birzeit University in Ramallah.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Avigdor Liberman, the head of Yisrael Beytenu, said Wednesday the Israeli government would be “capitulating to terrorism” if reports that it is negotiating a five year truce with Hamas are accurate.
In an interview with Army Radio, the former foreign minister called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to come to any understandings with the Hamas regime in Gaza.
“If, indeed, the government of Israel is going for a deal with Hamas, and Hamas continues to arm itself and rehabilitate its terrorist infrastructure, that is tantamount to capitulating to terrorism and I hope that these are just media reports and not a reflection of reality,” he said.
Hamas officials, both inside and outside, the Gaza Strip have expressed mixed views concerning the likelihood that a long-term agreement with Israel, entailing a five year cease-fire, could be reached.
According to Israel Radio, Osama Hamdan, a member of Hamas based in Lebanon, explained that while the Islamist organizations found some of the ideas included in the agreement outline to be acceptable, they were not ready to be implemented.
Another Hamas representative, Salah al-Bardawil, further explained that Hamas and Israel have not yet formulated final positions and that the application of a final agreement would require the consent of all Palestinian factions at play.
Senior Hamas officials, among them Hamas deputy leader Mussa Abu Marzouk, arrived in Qatar on Saturday to flesh out an agreement.
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Reportedly, one of the key features of an agreement would be the creation of a detached, floating port in Gaza.
Hamas has been struggling in its attempts to stamp out the activities of dissident groups in Gaza. A radical jihadi-Salafi group calling itself the Omar Hadid Brigades is the latest group to emerge from the worsening conditions in the Strip. Identifying itself as a offshoot of Islamic State, the group has been responsible for a scattered rocket fire into Israel and seeks to challenge Hamas supremacy in the coastal enclave.
While Hamas sources were willing to confirm the veracity of the indirect negotiations, an Israeli source added that the recent easing of restrictions by Egypt on the Rafah crossing, also is a result of these talks.
The opening of the Rafah crossing and the two-day extension granted by Egypt is generally seen as an attempt by Cairo to alleviate pressure on Hamas and give it a position of authority to strengthen the drive toward reestablishing lines of communications between it and Israel.
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