Middle East Monitor / December 30, 2019
The Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, denied on Sunday media reports claiming that it is discussing a long-term ceasefire agreement with Israel, whether in the West Bank or in the Gaza Strip.
“The talk was only about confirming previous understandings related to ending the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip and nothing more,” Hamas spokesman Abdul Latif Al-Qanoua told Anadolu.
Al-Qanoua made his comments in response to a report by Israel’s Channel 12 on Saturday claiming that National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat would brief the Israeli Cabinet on Sunday on the details of the proposed long-term ceasefire deal with the movement. The Hamas spokesman denied the report, describing it as “baseless”.
Earlier this month, a member of the Hamas political bureau, Khalil Al-Hayya also denied conducting talks with Israel about a long term ceasefire, claiming that discussions were focused on breaking the Israeli siege on Gaza.
“We are in discussion and dialogue with the brothers in Egypt on the issue of a maritime corridor to the territory, and we have not reached any details yet,” he explained. If the siege ended and the crossings were opened, he added, there would be no need for such a corridor.
In November last year, the Qatari ambassador to Palestine, Mohammed Al-Emadi, revealed that efforts were underway to establish a sea corridor linking the Gaza Strip with Cyprus, as part of efforts to maintain calm in the besieged enclave.
Egypt, the UN and Qatar have been leading discussions for several months to reach a truce between the Palestinian factions in Gaza and Israel, based on easing the blockade in exchange for stopping the weekly protests organised by the Palestinians near the nominal border with the Zionist state.