Hamas and Israel strike deal to end Gaza escalation

Hamas and Israel strike deal to end Gaza escalation


Gaza City: Hamas, the Islamic ruler of Gaza, said on Monday that they had reached a Qatar mediation agreement with Israel to end a cross-border attack that lasted more than three weeks.

In the most recent upgrade, Israel has bombed Gaza almost every day since August 6, in response to aerial incendiary devices and rocket launches that have crossed the border.

The fire brigade said bombs-crude equipment mounted on balloons, inflated condoms or plastic bags-caused more than 400 fires in southern Israel and damaged large tracts of farmland.

After talks with Qatari envoy Mohammed el-Emadi, “an understanding was reached to rein in the latest escalation and end (Israeli) aggression against our people,” said the office of the Palestinian group s Gaza leader Yahya Sinwar.

The Egyptian delegation has been traveling between the two countries in an attempt to promote the continuation of the informal truce, in which Israel promised to relax the 13-year blockade of Gaza in exchange for peace on the border.

Emadi also joined the delegation, who also held talks with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv.

In a statement, he praised the Hamas leadership for reaching a deal in light of the “difficult conditions of Gaza s inhabitants, especially in view of the spread of the coronavirus”.

A Hamas source told AFP there had been “a total halt” to balloon and other attacks against Israel, in agreement with other factions in the coastal strip, home to some two million people.

“Fuel supplies will return and the power station will be restarted from Tuesday,” the source said.

A punitive Israeli-imposed ban on fuel deliveries cut electricity to just four hours a day, supplied from the Israeli grid.

COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry unit that oversees civilian affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories, said in a statement that after “efforts to calm the situation”, it would “resume the routine activity of the Kerem Shalom Crossing, including the entry of fuel products”, starting Tuesday.

“In addition, the fishing zone of the Gaza Strip will be expanded to 15 nautical miles,” it said.

However, COGAT warned: “If Hamas, which is responsible for all actions taken in the Gaza Strip, fails to fulfill its obligations, Israel will act accordingly.”

Hamas sources added that the construction of a new transmission line will be allowed to begin, and the US$30 million Qatar aid provided to Gaza will be expanded to US$35 million, with the difference being used to pay civil servants’ salaries.

Financial assistance from Qatar, which is rich in natural gas resources, has become an important part of the armistice agreement, which was first reached more than a year ago and has been renewed several times since then.

The balloons launched in recent weeks have been seen by Hamas as an attempt to improve the terms of the informal agreement.

Sources close to Hamas said it also hopes to take other measures to ease living conditions in the territory, including expanding the industrial zone in the east, and Israeli work permits issued to Gazans by Israel once restrictions on the coronavirus are lifted. The number will increase.

However, disagreements in implementation have exacerbated the repeated outbreaks of Islamic organizations that have controlled Gaza since 2007.

This outbreak escalated into a full-scale conflict in 2008, 2012 and 2014, and mediators have been working hard to prevent new wars.

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