Report: Egypt Trying to Broker Gaza Deal, Hamas Not So Interested

YERUSHALAYIM -
Hamas tunnel
Brother of late Israeli soldier Oron Shaul seen at a protest tent outside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s residence in Yerushalayim in June 2016, in demand of retrieving the missing bodies of Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul from Hamas captivity. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

After another night in which Gaza terrorists fired masses of rockets on southern Israel – setting off Red Alert warnings throughout the night and sending residents scrambling for shelter – reports in Arab media Wednesday said that Egypt has offered to broker a deal for “extended quiet” between Israel and Hamas, according to Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar.

The deal would include Hamas returning Israelis it is holding, live or otherwise, and a promise to hold off on rocket firing and the dispatching of terror kites and balloons at Israel, in exchange for an easing of the humanitarian situation in Gaza, via the establishment of a seaport in Cyprus to allow for easier shipping of goods to Gaza. Under the plan, a special dock would be set up to handle shipments to Gaza. The shipments would be inspected by international officials, and the ships carrying inspected goods would be allowed to dock in Gaza to unload their merchandise.

Hadashot News reported that Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman had broached the idea with Cypriot officials on his recent visit to the island. Opposing the idea were the families of IDF soldiers Hadar Goldin and Oron Shaul, Hy”d, whose families told news media that Hamas did not deserve any “breaks” as long as their sons were being held in Gaza. In a statement Tuesday, the Defense Ministry said that the plan would indeed not be carried out without the return of the remains of the Israeli soldiers. Reports Tuesday night said that Israel had not yet formally presented the idea to Gaza or to Egypt, which is brokering talks between Israel and Hamas.

The Lebanese report said that Hamas told Egypt that it rejects the idea of releasing Israelis it is holding, including the remains of Goldin and Oron, even in exchange for an easing of the humanitarian situation in Gaza – unless Israel throws into the deal a mass release of terrorists being held in Israeli prisons.

A report on Channel Ten said that Israel has addressed the issue, telling Hamas that it is willing to release hordes of terrorists, but not those with “blood on their hands” – and it will also not release 46 terrorists who were released in the exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit who were rearrested for terror activities. Hamas has made the release of those terrorists a condition of any talks with Israel, Channel Ten added.