Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Hamas Informs Mediators: Patience Is Running Out

Hamas Informs Mediators: Patience Is Running Out

Sunday, 9 June, 2019 - 08:00
Palestinians fly balloons loaded with flammable material to be thrown at the Israeli side, near the Israel-Gaza border in the central Gaza Strip (File Photo: Reuters)

Hamas conveyed a message to Egypt and the United Nations on the situation in Gaza and the truce, warning that its “patience is over or is running out,” according to Israeli sources.

The sources said Hamas warned that if Tel Aviv’s promises to proceed with the understandings are not fulfilled, Israel should not expect calm days.

The leaked report came hours after the head of Israel's military intelligence service Tamir Heyman said that while Hamas was trying to prevent a war with Israel, it was facing increasing crises inside the Strip.

Earlier, Asharq al-Awsat reported that Egypt would intervene to maintain stability in Gaza, fearing a possible collapse especially that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to form a government and announce new Israeli elections.

Egypt’s concern stems from the Palestinians' rush to implement the agreement in light of an Israeli slowdown.

It is no secret that officials in Gaza are waving the possibility of escalating the protests as of next week because of the “failure” in carrying out the agreements reached with Israel.

Last month, Egypt put forward a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Strip.

The agreement included putting an end to the attacks from Gaza Strip, in exchange for the introduction of funds into Gaza, lifting the import restrictions on many goods, and increasing the fishing limit for Gaza fishermen to 12 and 15 nautical miles.

According to the agreement, if this stage is successful, another stage will be discussed and may include a prisoner exchange deal and infrastructure projects.

Earlier, Israel reduced the fishing area off the shores of the Gaza Strip from 15 nautical miles to 10 miles.

An Israeli official said that “Tel Aviv restricted the fishing area off Gaza coast from 15 nautical miles to 10 miles, in response to incendiary balloons shot off from Gaza towards Israel.”

Israeli Fire and Rescue Authority spokeswoman said firefighters worked on Tuesday to extinguish three fires in Israel caused by burning balloons that were launched from Gaza.

Israel restricted the permitted fishing zone off the coast of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday in response to incendiary balloons, said Israeli official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official noted that authorities reduced the fishing zone from 15 nautical miles off the coast to 10 nautical miles.

However, it remains under the 20-mile distance agreed upon in the Oslo Accords in the 1990s.

On Friday, Israeli Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kochavi met with the heads of the Gaza communities and told them that the relative calm along the border has been proving effective. He briefed the officials on the expected challenges and the political settlement with Palestinian factions in Gaza.

"The reduction in the number of balloons and the decrease in the number of violent incidents on the fence is not coincidental,” said Kochavi, adding that while the army prefers to give this “arrangement a chance...we cannot let the balloon terror continue.”

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