Fatah leader: Israel is offering Hamas an airport near Eilat 

Source: Fatah leader: Israel is offering Hamas an airport near Eilat – Arab-Israeli Conflict – Jerusalem Post

The Israeli offers are part of US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East.

BY KHALED ABU TOAMEH
 AUGUST 23, 2018 21:59
An airplane flies out of Beirut’s International Airport.

According to Aloul, the Israeli offers are part of US President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled plan for peace in the Middle East. “I doubt this plan will succeed,” he said.

Aloul said that the current efforts to achieve a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas in return for humanitarian and economic projects in the Gaza Strip were not being made only by Egypt. “There are many contradictions,” he said. “You also have Qatar, Turkey and Iran.”

Israel, he said, is seeking a truce with Hamas so that it can impose a new reality to pave the way for the implementation of Trump’s unseen plan.

“There are American efforts to liquidate the Palestinian cause,” Aloul charged. “They tried to pass their schemes through our Arab brothers without our consent. Our firm position forced the Arabs to backtrack and tell the Americans that they should deal with the legitimate party, and that’s why there’s a stalemate now. However, the Americans are continuing with their attempts.”

Aloul’s “revelations” were made in an interview with Egyptian journalist Jihan Husseini.

The senior Fatah official, who is touted as a potential successor to ailing PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said the PA favors a truce in the Gaza Strip. “A truce is a Palestinian national act,” he added.

Aloul claimed that the Americans and other parties were using the humanitarian issue as a distraction and “to pass suspicious schemes,” adding that last year, Abbas told donor countries to continue with their projects in the Gaza Strip.

He said that Abbas has told the Egyptians that Hamas should either manage the affairs of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip or allow the Ramallah-based government to do so. The Egyptians, according to Aloul, requested that Hamas be permitted to collect some taxes and tariffs in the Strip as part of a reconciliation deal with Abbas’s Fatah faction.

Aloul said that a Fatah delegation would head to Cairo soon to hold discussions with Egyptian intelligence officials on ways of ending the power struggle with Hamas. “We are [for] reconciliation [with Hamas],” he stressed. “Reconciliation is a main goal for us. But there are many suspicions nowadays concerning the reconciliation – that’s why the Palestinians are very cautious. We believe that the current efforts [to achieve a truce agreement between Israel and Hamas] are politically motivated and aimed at consolidating divisions among the Palestinians. The division [between the West Bank and Gaza Strip] was created by Israel.”

Aloul said he found it “absurd” that Israel was prepared to forgo important issues in the current truce discussions, such as Hamas’s heavy weapons and rockets. Qatar, he claimed, has received instructions from the US administration not to hinder the Egyptian and United Nations efforts to achieve a truce with Israel and reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah.

Meanwhile, the London-based Al-Hayat newspaper reported on Thursday that the truce agreement was almost ready and could be signed as early as next Sunday.

The paper said that the deal may require some minor amendments. Senior Hamas leader Saleh Arouri will sign the truce agreement on behalf of his movement in Cairo next Sunday, it added.

According to the report, after the signing of the truce deal, Egypt will invite representatives of various Palestinian factions to discuss ways of implementing the reconciliation agreement that was signed between Hamas and Fatah in Cairo in October 2017.

The paper said that an Egyptian delegation will travel to Israel after obtaining Hamas’s approval of the truce agreement to get Jerusalem to sign on to it.

Quoting informed Egyptian sources, the paper said that the agreement calls for a one-year truce between Israel and the Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, which will be automatically extended for another four years. The agreement envisages the lifting of the economic blockade on the Gaza Strip; the permanent reopening of the Kerem Shalom border crossing; linking Gaza City’s harbor with a seaport in Cyprus; launching steps to reopen the Palestinian airport in the southern Gaza Strip; and handing the remains of two IDF soldiers and two Israeli civilians held in the Gaza Strip to Israel. In return, the sources said, Israel would release Palestinian prisoners, including those who were rearrested after being freed in the 2011 Gilad Schalit prisoner exchange agreement.

The agreement, the sources added, also calls for the establishment of a financial and economic fund comprising Arab countries, the US and the EU to rebuild the Gaza Strip according to a detailed plan.

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