Hamas-Israel Deal to Include Year-long Cease-fire, Gaza-Cyprus Sea Lane, Report Says

The terms of an emerging agreement between Israel and Hamas include a year-long cease-fire, operation of a shipping route between Cyprus and the Gaza Strip, and Qatari funding for fuel in the impoverished enclave, the Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese network Al Mayadeen reported on Thursday.

The deal would also entail Qatari payment of Hamas officials’ salaries, according to the report, while the sea lane between Gaza and Cyprus would be under Israeli supervision.

The 48 hours between Thursday and Saturday will be decisive for the potential deal’s success or failure, according to the network.

>> In nearing deal with Israel on Gaza, Hamas wins achievements through military resistance | Analysis 

Also Thursday, U.K.-based newspaper Al-Hayat reported that the head of Egypt’s General Intelligence Directorate had visited Tel Aviv the previous day to discuss efforts to clinch a long-term cease-fire deal between Israel and Hamas.

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According to Palestinian sources quoted in the report, Maj. Gen. Abbas Kamel was in Tel Aviv to "discuss the final details of an integrated agreement that included Israel’s approval of the truce," as well as plans for humanitarian initiatives in Gaza, indirect negotiations with Hamas for exchanging prisoners and the Palestinian reconciliation.

Kamel was also expected to meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah during his visit, according to the report, as Cairo works to involve the PA in the talks and have it reassume control of the Strip.

However, a source in Abbas’ bureau told Haaretz that there had yet to be a request by the Egyptians to arrange the arrival of Kamel. According to the source, the Egyptians demanded that a Fatah delegation arrive in Cairo to meet with leaders of other Palestinian factions, a demand Abbas has refused since the negotiated deal currently doesn’t promise Palestinian Authority control over the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Authority has voiced doubts about the emerging agreement, seeing it as an attempt to bypass it. Senior PA officials have hinted that the deal could be part of U.S. President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled Mideast peace plan. The PA has rejected the Trump administration’s proposal for rehabilitating the Gaza Strip, saying it is intended to create a diplomatic rift between Gaza and the West Bank. 

On Tuesday, officials from Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian groups traveled to Egypt to continue talks about a potential Hamas-Fatah reconciliation and a long-term truce with Israel.

Meanwhile, on Wednesday a short-term truce went into effect, following approval by Israel’s security cabinet.