Report: After Renewed Balloon Terror, More ‘Understandings’ With Hamas

YERUSHALAYIM -
A large cluster of balloons attached to an explosive device and a book, was found Friday morning in the agricultural area of Kibbutz Tze’elim. (Police Spokesman)

After a week in which over 100 fires broke out caused by Gaza terror balloons, United Nations sources said Friday that Israel and Hamas had reached a new round of “understandings,” Haaretz reported. As part of the deal, Israel will once again allow diesel fuel shipments into Gaza, and the fishing area where Gazans can sail off the coast will be expanded to 15 nautical miles.

In addition, Israel will return to Gaza 20 fishing boats that have been seized in recent weeks for violating fishing limits. And, Israel has promised to refrain from using live fire when shooting at rioters on the Gaza border,

In return, Hamas has committed to attempt to restrain terrorists from dispatching terror balloons. It will also work to “soften the character” of the Friday riots at the Gaza border, the sources said. The report has not been confirmed by Israel or Hamas.

Israel suspended shipments of diesel oil to Gaza beginning Tuesday in response to the ongoing balloon terror attacks. On Tuesday, 20 fires broke out in Israel due to the incendiary balloons dispatched by Gaza terrorists. It was the largest number of fires that broke out in one day in at least three months – until Thursday, officials said, when even more fires broke out.

Between 75 and 85 tankers of diesel fuel enter Gaza each week, the IDF coordinator for activities in the territory, Kamil Abu-Rukun, said in a social media message in Arabic directed at Gaza residents. “The fuel means more hours of electricity each day,” he wrote. “It is the terrorists who are preventing you from getting this fuel and this electricity.”

Hamas top terrorist and Yahya Sinwar’s deputy, Halil al-Haya, warned of the “dire consequences” of the continued holding back of the fuel. “The game of expanding and reducing the area where fishermen can operate and allowing or halting the fuel shipments is a violation of the understandings, and places them in great danger. This is likely to lead to tragedy.” The Gaza Balloon Committee on Tuesday said in a statement that it was restarting its terror activity “because of the Israeli violations.”

Israel has indeed expanded and reduced the fishing vessel range and halted fuel shipments in response to terror activity from Gaza. Just last Tuesday, Israel expanded the range which Gaza fishing vessels could ply off the coast, after having reduced it and later preventing all Gaza ships from sailing – also because of the balloon terror attacks. Israel had agreed to increase the range fishing vessels could ply to 15 nautical miles as part of the understandings negotiated by UN and Egyptian mediators that led to the end of Gaza rocket attacks against southern Israel in May Hamas and. Islamic Jihad fired some 700 rockets at southern Israel during those attacks. Part of those understandings entailed an end to incendiary balloon attacks.

Commenting on Friday’s report, Blue and White MK Yoaz Hendel said in a social media post that “the routine of rocket fire, balloon terror attacks, and phony understandings with Hamas is a shameful cycle unlike anything else. Soon [Prime Minister Netanyahu] will expound on how this is an example of ‘strong right’ versus what the ‘weak left’ would do. Israelis, break out of your hypnosis – this is what weakness looks like. When no one on the ‘fake right’ dares criticize this, this is weakness as well.”