Hamas Seeking Long-Term Ceasefire

YERUSHALAYIM -
hamas
Palestinians prepare to set kites on fire to be thrown at the Israeli side of the Gaza border on Friday. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

After more than a month of violent protests organized by Hamas on the Gaza-Israel border, it emerged on Monday that at the same time the terror group has been sending messages to Israel seeking a ceasefire.

Hamas is linking an offer of a long-term ceasefire to its demands for an easing of the blockade on Gaza, approval of large-scale infrastructure projects and a prisoner exchange, according to a report in Haaretz.

Israel has “not responded clearly” to the overtures, according to the report.

Senior Israeli security officials informed the civilian leaders of feelers put out by Hamas, which they attributed to “dire and unprecedented strategic distress” due to the economic and political crisis that the organization currently faces in Gaza. The failure of the reconciliation agreement with Fatah, which has left Hamas without crucial funding from the Palestinian Authority, has been a key factor.

There have been reports in recent months of Egyptian attempts to broker a ceasefire with Israel, but nothing yet has come of it.

Meanwhile, hostile activities continued along the border on Monday, as an incendiary device attached to a helium balloon was launched into Israel from Gaza, causing a fire in a field outside Kibbutz Nir Am in the southwestern Shaar Hanegev region.

Until now the cross-border arsonists have used Molotiv cocktails attached to kites to set Israeli farmlands on fire. This was the first reported using a helium balloon.

B’chasdei Shamayim, no injuries were reported, and the extent of damage was not clear.