Will Israel-Hamas arrangement divorce Gaza from West Bank?

December 10, 2019
Israel and Hamas close to long-term agreement for control of Gaza?

Ismail Haniyah, Head of Hamas politburo

Shlomi Eldar writes in Al Monitor, “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed on Dec. 6 during a visit to Portugal that a long-term deal with Hamas over the future of Gaza was imminent. “There is a possibility to promote the arrangement,” he said. “It doesn’t mean they would recognize us, and we would recognize them, but I think it is possible to reach the deal. We are working on it at this very moment.” That was also the impression left with local leaders of Gaza border communities who met that same day with Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi against a backdrop of ongoing rocket launches from the enclave into Israel and political paralysis. Describing the meeting, the officials said they understood from Kochavi that a deal with Hamas was heading in a “positive” direction.”

“The comments by Netanyahu and Kochavi coincided with talks held in Cairo between top Egyptian intelligence officials and Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas’ political bureau, and senior Islamic Jihad officials, among them the organization’s leader, Ziyad al-Nakhala. As I wrote previously in Al-Monitor, Islamic Jihad has become a de facto co-ruler of Gaza, thus, for better or for worse, Hamas is no longer the sole group making decisions for the enclave. The heads of Islamic Jihad, the smaller of the two groups, also have demands and conditions for a deal with Israel. Channel 13 News reported on Dec. 9 that Islamic Jihad had rejected a proposal for a formal long-term cease-fire with Israel, but also that Nakhala had promised to keep the peace with Israel as long as Israeli leaders appeared committed to a deal as he sees it.”…

Islamic Jihad Chief, Ziyad al-Nakhala

“An “arrangement” with Hamas, if reached, would have further repercussions in perpetuating the rift between Gaza and the West Bank. A deal that affirms Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s control over Gaza means that the Palestinian Authority (PA) would have to give up its dream of bringing Gaza and the West Bank under its leadership. If a Palestinian state is ever established under a formal agreement, its borders will likely only extend to the West Bank, resulting in two separate entities for one people.” (more…)

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