Hamas and Israeli teams in Cairo for negotiations on long-term ceasefire

July 1, 2021 by Baruch Yedid - TPS
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A Hamas delegation arrived in Cairo on Wednesday for a series of meetings and discussions on issues regarding the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip after Operation Guardian of the Walls, and to examine the possibility of an exchange of prisoners and captives with Israel.

Fawzi Barhoum (L), Hamas spokesman and Halil al-Hayya (R), the member of Hamas’s Politburo and deputy head of Hamas’ regional politburo during a press conference in Gaza City. Gaza, Feb 3, 2021. Photo by Majdi Fathi/TPS

Hamas’ arrival in Cairo occurred as an Israeli delegation arrived in the Egyptian capital, for the second time in a week.

Hamas is insisting on its position and is refusing to condition the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip with a possible deal for the exchange of prisoners with Israel, but its spokesmen said that it will “agree to discuss the issue of prisoners at Egypt’s request.”

In a meeting held by Ismail Haniya, a Hamas leader, in a refugee camp in Lebanon, he said that “what we achieved during the Sword of Jerusalem (Guardian of the Walls) will not be handed over to the occupation with the sword of reconstruction.”

Haniya was referring to Hamas’ opposition to Israel’s position, which demands that the rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip be conditioned on the return of the two Israeli citizens and the bodies of two IDF soldiers held by Hamas.

Senior Hamas figures have been asked in the media over the past day about their achievements in Operation Guardian of the Walls in light of reports on Israel’s willingness to enable the entry of Qatari money into Gaza this coming weekend through a new mechanism monitored by the US and not Hamas and had difficulty explaining the reports.

Meanwhile, Majed Fatiani, a member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, commented about the reports of an agreement between Israel, the UN, and Qatar on the entry of Qatari funds into Gaza, and said that “Hamas signed an agreement with the occupation aimed at deepening the division between the Palestinian rule in the West Bank and Hamas’ rules the Gaza Strip and agreed to a truce in exchange for mere money and fuel trucks.”

The assessment in the Gaza Strip is that Hamas will allow the funds to be introduced through UN representatives, due to Hamas’ difficult situation and pressure from the residents of the Gaza Strip, at least 50,000 of whom have lost shelter and need water and electricity infrastructure.

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