Posted tagged ‘Egypt and Palestinians’

Secret Egyptian-Hamas bid to rush through Gaza crossings handover to Palestinian Authority

November 1, 2017

Secret Egyptian-Hamas bid to rush through Gaza crossings handover to Palestinian Authority, DEBKAfile, October 31, 2017

DEBKAfile’s US sources disclose additionally that there is nothing to the reports published in Israel in the last few days that the Trump administration is on the point of presenting Israel with a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Senior US officials in Washington told our sources that no such plan exists. They say that Middle East leaders, who are talking about it, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, are fully aware of this, but are using the non-existent US peace plan as a pretext for turning down or delaying projects they deem undesirable.

The only real project engaging Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt at present is the establishment of joint Israel-Palestinian industrial zones in Judea and Samaria.

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Egyptian intelligence and Hamas security agencies are in an overnight effort to rush through the Gaza crossings’ handover to the Palestinian Authority by Wednesday morning, Nov. 1, even if only as a token step. This is reported by DEBKAfile.

To distract attention, they put out a statement earlier Tuesday pretending that the transfer had been postponed from Tuesday to Nov. 15 in consideration of the high military tension generated around Gaza by the IDF’s destruction of a Jihad Islami terror tunnel on Monday.

Our military sources report that the latest Egyptian-brokered Palestinian unity steps are shrouded in secrecy, which Israel, too, is preserving. Therefore, there is no information about a Palestinian Authority security contingent reaching the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Neither is there any word about this contingent obtaining permission to travel from Bethlehem through Israel and gaining entry to the territory through the Erez crossing. This contingent may still make the journey overnight under cover of dark – either through Israel or Egypt – barring another last-minute change of plan.

If they go ahead, the transfer itself will take some days.

Egyptian and Hamas officials are confident that the Jihad Islami won’t act Tuesday night on its threat to wreak vengeance on Israel for blowing up its terror tunnel in an explosion that left 11 operatives dead.

DEBKAfile’s US sources disclose additionally that there is nothing to the reports published in Israel in the last few days that the Trump administration is on the point of presenting Israel with a new Israeli-Palestinian peace plan. Senior US officials in Washington told our sources that no such plan exists. They say that Middle East leaders, who are talking about it, including Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, are fully aware of this, but are using the non-existent US peace plan as a pretext for turning down or delaying projects they deem undesirable.

The only real project engaging Trump’s Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt at present is the establishment of joint Israel-Palestinian industrial zones in Judea and Samaria.

Palestinian unity deal signed – but partial

October 12, 2017

Palestinian unity deal signed – but partial, DEBKAfile, October 12, 2017

Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction, has fought three wars with the Jewish state and its armed wing is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the European Union and other powers.

Israel has said it will not deal with a Palestinian government that contains Hamas ministers.

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Gaza’s Rafah crossing passes from Hamas to the Palestinian Authority on Nov. 1;  the enclave’s central administration – on Dec. 1

The Egyptian-brokered deal hailed by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas as “the end of the rift,” is cautiously seen in Cairo as a partial resolution of the dispute between the Fatah and Hamas rival factions.

The reconciliation accord was announced at dawn Thursday, Oct 10, by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh after night-long negotiations at the Egyptian intelligence ministry in Cairo. The promised news conference at which details of the agreement were to be revealed by Egyptian mediators and Palestinian officials did not take place.

Egyptian sources reveal that seven points of agreement were hammered out:

  1. The two Palestinian parties will meet in one month to set out the date and modalities for elections to the presidency and parliament.
  2. Before then, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas will spend a few days in the Gaza Strip, his first visit there in a decade since Hamas ousted his Fatah party in a military coup..
  3. A joint Palestinian Authority-Hamas commission will determine procedures for the merger of the PA and Gaza governing administrations. The future of the 60,000 people employed by the Gaza administration must also be decided.
  4. In the next two weeks, Hamas will transfer into Egyptian hands control of the Rafah border crossing from the Gaza Strip to Egyptian Sinai.
  5. The Palestinian Authority will take charge of the Rafah crossing from Egyptian officials – not directly from Hamas.
  6. Up until the parties come to terms on Gaza Strip’s electricity bill – which the Palestinian Authority has refused to cover for months – Egypt and Israel will provide the enclave with fuel for running the grid.
  7. The main sticking point in the reconciliation process – control of Hamas’ armed wing and arsenal – appears to have been left out of the deal signed Thursday. Hamas has consistently objected to foregoing or sharing control of its militia. Non-Egyptian sources report that the Palestinian Authority is to deploy 30,000 members of its security battalions to the Gaza Strip, but make no mention of coordination between the two forces. Cairo does not refer to this question.

Hamas, which calls for Israel’s destruction, has fought three wars with the Jewish state and its armed wing is designated a terrorist group by Israel, the US, the European Union and other powers.

Israel has said it will not deal with a Palestinian government that contains Hamas ministers.