‘Top Guns’, Abbas Kamel, director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service and UN Special Coordinator for the Mid-East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov, are in discussions with Nadav Argaman, Israel’s Shin Bet chief to put an end to the current chain of violence on the Gaza-Israel border.
The United Nations and Egypt are close to presenting an initiative to dramatically cool tensions between Israel and Hamas, Israel’s Channel 10 reported Friday.
Months of weekly protests and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border have also given rise to an uptick on rocket attacks from the enclave and retaliatory Israeli air strikes.
Gaza is also suffering from a humanitarian crisis fueled by both a long-running Israeli economic blockade and economic sanctions by Hamas’ top internal rival, the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority.
According to the Channel 10 report that cited senior Israeli ministers and officials, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told cabinet members this week that a significant deal is in the works.
UN peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov made back-to-back visits to Gaza this week for talks with Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh, although he later issued a tweet “encourag[ing] all to show a healthy doze of skepticism as there is much speculation and many rumours about UN efforts in Gaza.”
“All concerned parties are working very hard to avoid escalation, resolve all humanitarian issues and support reconciliation.”
Friday’s TV report said a mooted deal brokered between Israel and Hamas would include a “stable” ceasefire, aid for rebuilding Gaza’s battered infrastructure and a rekindled reconciliation deal between Hamas and Fatah.
Hamas, an Islamist militant group, controls Gaza while its internal foe Fatah largely runs the parts of the West Bank not held by Israel.
Any deal to boost the economic situation in the strip would have to include a rapprochement between the two groups, as the PA has slashed the paychecks of public employees there.
A senior diplomatic source quoted by the channel described the initiative as “unprecedented” but that “it is too soon to say whether it will succeed. Much is at stake.”
The US government is being kept abreast of developments through President Trump’s Middle East advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.
The head of Egyptian intelligence, Abbas Kamel, was in Washington earlier this week. Kamel has played a crucial role in mediating between Hamas and Israel.
According to Haaretz newspaper, Israel is being represented in the discussions by Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman.
An unnamed minister quoted by Channel 10 said there is a desire within the cabinet to make an arrangement with Hamas work, but the government will not be taken for “suckers.”
A week ago an Israeli soldier was shot dead by Palestinian fire along the border, the first killing of a soldier in and around Gaza since a 2014 war between Hamas and the Jewish state.
Almost 160 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire during weeks of demonstrations and clashes along the Gaza-Israel border.
Israel and a Hamas official have claimed most were militants, although several children are among the dead.
The have fought three wars since 2008.
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