Egypt has informed Hamas that Israel is keen on preserving the ceasefire understandings with the Gaza-based Palestinian groups, Hamas officials said on Tuesday.
Senior Egyptian intelligence officials who visited the Gaza Strip earlier this week reassured the leaders of the Palestinian groups that Israel remains committed to the understandings, which were reached earlier this year under the auspices of Egypt, Qatar and the UN, said Hamas spokesperson Abdul Latif Qanou.
The Egyptian officials left the Gaza Strip on Monday after holding a series of meetings with leaders of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups on ways of averting an all-out military confrontation with Israel.
“The outcome of the Egyptian delegation’s visit to the Gaza Strip was positive and tangible with regards to alleviating the suffering of our people,” Qanou said, without elaborating.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that Israel was offering a series of measures to ease restrictions imposed on the Gaza Strip, including increasing electricity and diesel fuel supplies.
Egypt, for its part, is said to have promised to increase the amount of merchandise allowed into the Gaza Strip through its shared border with the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave.
The Hamas spokesperson said that the Egyptian intelligence officials promised to ease travel restrictions imposed on Palestinians at the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
The London-based Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported that the Israel was also offering to expand the fishing zone in the Gaza Strip as part of an effort to deescalate tensions with Hamas. The Israeli demands include a cessation of the weekly protests along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel, and an end to rocket and incendiary balloon attacks, the paper said.
In addition to the ceasefire understandings with Israel, the Egyptian officials also discussed the possibility of resuming efforts to solve the continued dispute between Hamas and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority (PA), sources in the Gaza Strip revealed on Tuesday.
Previous attempts by the Egyptians to end the Hamas-PA rivalry have been unsuccessful.
The Egyptians are expected to present a new proposal within three weeks to end the crisis between the two rival Palestinian parties, said Talal Abu Tharifah, a senior official with the PLO’s Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) who participated in the discussions with the Egyptian intelligence officials. He too described the results of the discussions as “positive” and said that the new Egyptian proposal will be presented in the coming weeks to the Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip and the secretary-general of the Arab League.
The DFLP official said that the proposal will be based on previous reconciliation agreements signed between Hamas and Fatah and which call for the establishment of a Palestinian unity government and holding long overdue presidential and parliamentary elections.