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

Hamas Requests Increase of Qatari Funds From Israel

Hamas Requests Increase of Qatari Funds From Israel

Wednesday, 19 August, 2020 - 08:45
A female Palestinian demonstrator at a protest at the Israel-Gaza border, east of Gaza City (Reuters)

Hamas informed the Egyptian security delegation of its demands to end the current escalation with Israel, in addition to doubling Qatari funds and increasing permits for merchants and workers in Israel.

Sources close to the matter reported to Asharq Al-Awsat that Hamas told the Egyptian security delegation in a “positive and prolonged” meeting that they couldn't return to the situation prior to the current escalation without winning any achievements.

The meeting included Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar, his deputy Khalil al-Hayya, and the movement’s representative in Egypt Rawhi Mushtaha.

The sources added that Hamas asked Egyptian officials to pressure Israel to implement previous commitments that were agreed upon before the recent launch of incendiary balloons and nighttime protests at the border.

Hamas will receive a response to its demands at any time after a discussion between the security delegation and Israeli officials.

The Israeli daily, Yedioth Ahronoth, said that senior Egyptian intelligence officials had conveyed the demands to the Israeli side, including approving economic infrastructure projects, allowing import and export movement, increasing work permits for Gazan workers in Israel to 100,000, expanding the fishing area to 20 miles, and keeping Kerem Shalom commercial crossing opened.

Hamas requested doubling the Qatari grant provided to the enclave and the implementation of projects previously agreed upon through the UN.

The newspaper affirmed that Tel Aviv did not object to the demands, but some of these requests are not within Israeli control, but require international and regional coordination and approvals.

The Egyptian security delegation arrived in the Gaza Strip Monday to contain the recent escalation between Tel Aviv and Hamas, and met Israeli and Palestinian officials in Ramallah.

Egypt is trying to reinforce the truce it sponsored last year. If the first phase is successful, it guarantees to build a port, an airport, a hospital, and an industrial zone.

However, none of the provisions were fully implemented and Hamas escalated the situation last week by launching incendiary balloons towards Israel and activating night demonstrations.

Israel responded by launching bombs and imposing punitive measures, threatening to escalate. Israeli authorities prevented the entry of fuel into Gaza which further deepened the Strip's crisis.

Meanwhile, Haaretz newspaper said that Hamas leadership is not seeking a full-scale confrontation, adding that launching the incendiary balloons and the renewal of the nighttime protests by the border are calls of distress directed not only at Israel, but also at Egypt and the UN representative to the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov.

Hamas believes that Tel Aviv does not want an escalation, given the health and economic crises in Israel and the agreement with the UAE.

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