A ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas has reportedly taken effect on Wednesday, with the reopening of the Kerem Shalom crossing as well as the expansion of the approved fishing parameter to nine miles from Gaza’s shores.
While Israeli officials have repeatedly denied the existence of any full fledged agreement with Hamas, several Arabic publications, as well as Israel’s Haaretz have reported that a ceasefire is indeed one in place.
According to Haaretz, the deal in place includes six sections, to be gradually carried out should the calm between the sides remain. The first step is the ceasefire, with the second step being the aforementioned opening of crossings and expansion of the fishing zones. Next would be humanitarian and medical assistance, and then negotiations over prisoner exchanges. The final two stages are the rehabilitation of Gaza’s infrastructures, using foreign aid, most likely Qatari, and then finally, discussions surrounding the establishments of air and sea ports.
The London based Arabic daily al-Hayat reported that Chief of Egyptian Intelligence Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel visited Tel Aviv on Wednesday evening, in order to discuss the developments, before heading to Ramallah, to meet Palestinian leaders.
The Hezbollah affiliated al-Mayadeen TV station reported that the coming days will be crucial, as Palestinian factions are set to meet to discuss the deal. According to the report, the deal commits the factions to a one year ceasefire with Israel, as well as the opening of a shipping lane from Gaza to Cyprus, which will be monitored by Israeli forces. The offer in question proposes that Qatar would provide funding for both the salaries of Hamas’ government employees, as well as the Gaza Strip’s electricity needs.
Written by Yona Schnitzer/TPS | Photo by Kobi Richter/TPS