Hamas officials agree to Egyptian plan to restore quiet, end protests

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AFP
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Hamas has backed an Egyptian proposal to foster calm on the Israel-Gaza border ahead of expected major protests, two officials from the terrorist group said Friday.

There was no immediate comment from the Israeli side on the potential agreement, and the leader of the Gaza terror group confirmed that work was ongoing on “serious understandings” that will ease the humanitarian condition in the Strip.

A Hamas official who took part in the meetings told AFP on condition of anonymity they had backed an Egyptian proposal that will see protesters stay several hundred meters from the border.

Hamas-backed attacks in the West Bank would also cease, the official said. In exchange, “the Egyptians informed us that the (Israelis) promised to ease their measures.”

 Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s leader, issued a statement emphasizing the concessions that his organization expected from Israel under an Egyptian-brokered agreement.

“We are working with our brothers in Egypt through the Egyptian delegation currently here in Gaza to resolve the humanitarian crisis in Gaza in a way that ensures an end to our people’s suffering and strengthens their dignity,” he said.

“We are working to do this by reaching serious understandings that will be respected by the enemy, especially as pertains to it halting its fire and aggression, allowing the entry of humanitarian aid, implementing projects, opening crossings and expanding the fishing zone, cash for work projects, and dealing with issues such as electricity,” Haniyeh said.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh flashes a ‘v for victory’ sign on March 27, 2019, next to the rubble of what was once his office in Gaza City, which was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike two days earlier. (Hamas)

“We will continue our marathon talks with the Egyptian brothers, which have been ongoing since the day before yesterday and include the national factions, in order to complete all prior dialogue and achieve the desired goal,” he said, adding that the situation was at a “crossroads” and the coming hours would be significant.

“All options are on the table,” Haniyeh said.

According to the report, Hamas is planning a mass transportation operation for Saturday, picking up protesters from 38 locations in the enclave and shuttling them to five sites along the border. Field hospitals have reportedly been set up at various points, and medical facilities in the Strip are on an emergency footing.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he’d ordered the military to prepare for an “extensive campaign” should Egypt-brokered ceasefire negotiations fail.

It seems the return of bodies held by Hamas, was not included in the talks…

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