Hamas and Israel strike a deal to end cross-border bombings in Gaza
Israel and Hamas have reached a deal to stop more than three weeks of cross-border attacks, according to a statement released in the new escalation, Israel has almost regularly bombed Gaza since 6 August in response to airborne explosive devices and, less commonly, rockets fired across the border.
The firebombs – makeshift balloon-mounted machines, exploded condoms or plastic bags – have caused more than 400 blazes and destroyed agriculture in southern Israel, according to the fire brigade. After talking to Qatari ambassador Mohammed el-Emadi, “an agreement has been reached to rein in the current escalation and end of (Israeli) violence against our nation,” said the Palestinian Authority.
An Egyptian delegate was shuttling between the two sides to try to bring about a revival of the temporary ceasefire in which Israel had pledged itself to relax its 13-year blockade of Gaza in exchange for peace at the border.The delegation was accompanied by Emadi, who also had talks with Israeli officials in Tel Aviv.
He praised the Hamas leadership for finding an agreement in the light of the “difficult circumstances of the inhabitants of Gaza, particularly in view of the spread of the coronavirus.”A Hamas source told AFP that there had been a “total stop” to the balloon and other attacks, in agreement with other factions in the coastal strip, home to some two million people.
“Oil supplies will be recalled and the power plant will be restarted from Tuesday,” the source added.Punitive Israel’s enforced ban on fuel imports limited power to only four hours a day from the Israeli grid.
COGAT, the Israeli Defense Ministry agency that manages civil affairs in the occupied Palestinian territories, said in a statement that after “an attempt to ease the situation,” it will “resume the normal operations of the Kerem Shalom Crossing, including the entry of fuel goods,” beginning on Tuesday. “In addition, the Gaza Strip fishing zone will be extended to 15 nautical miles,” he added.
However, COGAT warned: “If Hamas, which is responsible for all actions taken in the Gaza Strip, fails to fulfil its commitments, Israel will act accordingly.” The Hamas source added that work will be allowed to begin on the building of a new power line, while a $30 million Qatari aid tranche for Gaza will be raised to $35 million, with the difference being used to finance the public sector.
Financial support from gas-rich Qatar was a central component of the ceasefire first negotiated more than a year ago and renewed many times since then.The fire balloons launched in recent weeks have been generally regarded as an effort by Hamas to change the terms of the informal agreement.