Top Israeli Official Holds Secret Talks With Palestinian PM

YERUSHALAYIM (Hamodia Staff) -

A senior Israeli official met with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in Ramallah to discuss mutual cooperation and the rehabilitation of Gaza, senior sources from both Israel and the PA confirmed to local news media.

The secret back channel puts Israeli officials in contact with Hamdallah, and runs parallel to indirect talks in Cairo between Israel and Hamas and other Gaza terror factions. Israel and the Palestinians have agreed to resume talks late next month on cementing a Gaza cease-fire, allowing time for Palestinian factions to resolve their divisions.

“The goal is to make sure that there is oversight about what is happening in Gaza,” the Israeli official said. “That can be done either with the United Nations or the Palestinian Authority. For the PA to do that, we need to coordinate our moves and change the situation on the ground for regular Gazans. The goal is to solidify the cease-fire.”

Meanwhile, in Cairo, the delegations are working on border crossings between Israel and Gaza (as well as Gaza and Egypt) and who oversees them. The possibility that goods made in Gaza will be exported abroad is also being discussed.

Last week, prior to the Israeli delegation joining the Cairo talks, Hamas agreed to concede control of the Strip to the unity government, a move that sets the stage for Gaza’s rehabilitation.

A senior Hamas official said last week that the Palestinians had agreed that some 3,000 Palestinian security forces — loyal to the Palestinian Authority and not Hamas — will be deployed in the Strip for the first time since 2007, when Hamas violently ousted Fatah and PA officials from positions of power. Their deployment, and the overall running of Gaza, will be supervised by a third country that will work with the PA.