Hamas will maintain calm in Gaza, has plan for prisoner swap - report

A source told Al Mayadeen that Hamas had supplied Egyptian intelligence with "a complete conception of the prisoner exchange deal with the occupation."

 Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas guard at the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip (photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)
Palestinian security forces loyal to Hamas guard at the Rafah border crossing to Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip
(photo credit: ABED RAHIM KHATIB/FLASH90)

Hamas will maintain calm in the Gaza Strip as long as "the occupation" does as well, a Hamas source told the Beirut-based independent news channel Al Mayadeen on Saturday, adding that the calm is part of a larger attempt at a mutual ceasefire. 

The statement was made as talks between Hamas and Egyptian representatives are ongoing in Cairo. The Hamas delegation headed by the movement’s leader, Ismail Haniyeh, arrived in Egypt on October 3, with the movement announcing the visit the night before. Hamas’s leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar, was reportedly part of the delegation as well.

Hamas also insisted that Israel must prevent "the incursion of Israeli vehicles towards the eastern Palestinian border areas of the Gaza Strip," and allow it to move freely in what is known as the "safe zone" near the border, the source said.

The source also told Al Mayadeen that Hamas had supplied Egyptian intelligence with "a complete conception of the prisoner exchange deal with the occupation," adding that "the ball regarding the exchange deal is now in the Israeli court."

Egyptian intelligence pledged to attempt to discern Israel's position, the source said.

The delegation also convinced Egypt to speed up the reconstruction process in the Gaza Strip and allow increased trade and travel through the Rafah crossing starting on Sunday, the Lebanese Al-Akhbar newspaper reported on Thursday.

 HAMAS SUPPORTERS attend an anti-Israel rally as rockets are displayed on a truck in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip in May. (credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS) HAMAS SUPPORTERS attend an anti-Israel rally as rockets are displayed on a truck in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip in May. (credit: IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS)

The delegation also received a commitment from Egypt to allow Palestinian merchants to travel through the Rafah crossing and to allow them into Cairo through coordination carried out by the Gaza Chamber of Commerce, the Interior Ministry in Gaza, and Egyptian Authorities.

Egypt plans to install electronic monitoring devices at the Rafah crossing in order to prevent the smuggling of weapons and dual-use items into the Gaza Strip, according to the Al-Akhbar report, as part of an agreement reached by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.

Tzvi Joffre contributed to this report.