The cease-fire agreement Egypt is trying to negotiate between Israel and Hamas includes a one-year truce as well as several measures meant to alleviate the dire economic situation in the Gaza Strip, the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Mayadeen TV reported Thursday.
According to the report, under the deal, Qatar would pay the salaries of Hamas government officials in Gaza as well as for the enclave’s power supply. Those payments used to be carried by the Palestinian Authority, but PA President Mahmoud Abbas suspended them earlier this year in a bid to pressure Hamas into ceding control of Gaza.
The deal also includes establishing a “naval corridor” between Cyprus and Gaza through which goods could be delivered to Gaza, as well as the construction of a port in the Sinai Peninsula, which would operate under Israeli security supervision to send goods to Gaza.
It was unclear whether these two plans would coincide.
The report said the next 48 hours of the negotiations would be “crucial” to the efforts to achieve a cease-fire.
If the truce holds for the planned year, negotiations will be held to extend it.
The report came several hours after the London-based Arabic newspaper Al-Hayat reported that Egyptian General Intelligence Service Director Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel met with senior Israeli defense officials in Tel Aviv on Wednesday as part of Cairo’s efforts to broker a long-term cease-fire between the Jewish state and the terrorist group that rules Gaza.
Kamel is also expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, the report said.
According to Al-Hayat, Kamel’s meeting with Israeli officials focused on the two main issues of the agreement, namely humanitarian gestures for Israel to offer the Gaza Strip and the fates of two Israeli civilians and the bodies of two soldiers held by Hamas.
Both Al-Hayat and Al Mayadeen said the issue of a potential prisoner exchange deal would be discussed only after the cease-fire proves viable, giving no timeframe.
Hamas is holding the remains of Staff Sgt. Oron Shaul and Lt. Hadar Goldin, killed in the Gaza Strip in separate battles in 2014, as well as two living Israeli civilians – Ethiopian Israeli Avera Mengistu and Bedouin Israeli Hisham al-Sayed – both men with mental health issues who crossed into Gaza willingly in 2014 and 2015 and were captured.
A senior Israeli official denied that an agreement with Hamas would exclude the issue of the Israeli captives.
“There can be no true agreement with Hamas without the return of our citizens and soldiers, and a guarantee of long-term calm on the border,” he said.
“The current calm is the result of determined IDF operations that will continue as needed, in accordance with the understandings reached by the Egyptians and the United Nations. It is in light of these understandings that the Kerem Shalom crossing was opened and the Palestinian fishing zone was expanded.
”As long as this calm e quiet is maintained, it will be possible to deal with humanitarian issues, including the return of the Israeli captives.”
Residents of Israeli communities near the Gaza border harshly criticized the negotiations with Hamas.
The residents, who have already experienced five violated cease-fires in recent months, said they believe a large military operation in the Gaza Strip is unavoidable.