An Egyptian spy boss appears to have brokered a “long-term truce” between Israel and Hamas after an intense week of talks.
The deal, which is expected to be announced this weekend, gives Israel security guarantees, including a cessation in the fuel-laden flying objects sent over the Gaza border which have burned vast areas of Israeli agricultural land.
In return, the Kerem Shalom border crossing – fully reopened mid-week for the first time in almost a month – will remain open, and Israeli naval patrols will allow Gaza’s fishermen to extend their reach.
Although the details are not yet clear, Israeli leaders are reported to be trying to include the recovery of the bodies of missing soldiers, captured civilians and prisoners, while Hamas wants to discuss infrastructure project in Gaza, including an airport and seaport.
Israeli leaders had long denied that there was a truce being negotiated, but after a round of shuttle diplomacy from the head of Egyptian Intelligence, General Abbas Kamel, Israel’s security cabinet held a four-hour meeting this week to discuss the detail.
The immediate priority of the Palestinians is to ensure humanitarian aid enters the Gaza Strip, with UN observers warning of dire living conditions exacerbated by huge cuts in aid leveraged by US President Donald Trump.
Commentators say the terms of the truce are similar to those agreed following hostilities in 2014, but an unnamed Israeli official said Israel would discuss humanitarian projects “only to the extent that the quiet is maintained for an extended period”.
The Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese network Al Mayadeen reported that the terms of the deal include a year-long ceasefire, the operation of a shipping route between Cyprus and the Gaza Strip under Israeli supervision, and Qatari funding for fuel in Gaza.
Both Israeli and Hamas leaders are battling internal opposition to a truce. In Jerusalem, Jewish Home ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked are bitterly opposed, while in Ramallah, Palestinian officials have accused Hamas of “capitulation”.
Listen to the latest episode of the Jewish Views Podcast!