Hamas in message to Israel: Willing to negotiate long-term truce -
According to intelligence assessments, the organization is still in dire distress and is currently more open to discussing options it rejected in the past
Amos Harel May 07, 2018
Hamas leaders in the Gaza Strip have recently conveyed messages to Israel indicating their willingness to negotiate a long term cease-fire in the enclave. These messages were passed through different channels on several occasions over the last few months. Hamas wants to tie the cease-fire with an easing of the siege on Gaza, permission to embark on large-scale infrastructure projects and a prisoner and body exchange deal.
As far as is known, Israel has not responded clearly to the messages.
Reports presented to senior defense establishment officials and the political echelons say that tensions in Gaza will remain high even after the massive Nakba Day demonstration Hamas has planned for May 15, when Palestinians mark the expulsion of Arabs from their homes during the 1947-49 Israeli War of Independence. According to intelligence assessments, Hamas is still in dire and unprecedented strategic distress and is currently more open to discussing options it rejected in the past.
The Hamas leadership is engaged in a lively debate regarding the negotiation of a cease-fire and the exchange of prisoners and bodies. The daily Israel Hayom reported two weeks ago that Yahya Sinwar, Hamas’ leader in Gaza, is in favor, while the overall Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh is opposed. The paper claimed that Sinwar accused Haniyeh of yielding to Iranian pressure in forming his positions.
At the same time, reconciliation efforts between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are still on hold after the assassination attempt on the PA’s Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah during his visit to Gaza in March. The PA blamed Hamas for detonating explosives close to Hamdallah’s convoy while Hamas blamed internal rivalry within the PA and attributed the attempt to the head of the General Intelligence Service in Ramallah, Majid Faraj, who was also in the convoy.