(Emad Nassar/Flash90) Hamas terrorists in Gaza. (Photo: Emad Nassar/Flash90)
Protective Edge ceasefire

Hamas and Israel are negotiating a long-term ceasefire agreement, to the dismay of other Palestinian factions. The truce may include an end to Israel’s legal military blockade on Gaza.

Arms smuggling by sea

A boat with rocket-producing materials intercepted on the way to Gaza. (IDF)

Hamas and Israel may be preparing to sign a long-term truce agreement, according to multiple sources. The potential truce has come under attack from Palestinian factions opposed to Hamas. The sources indicate that the agreement would include ending Israel’s legal maritime blockade on Gaza.

A Hamas-affiliated newspaper, Alresalah, quoted Yassin Aqtay, adviser to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, as saying there has been progress in ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas. Aqtay expects that the two parties will soon agree to a truce and that Israel will open Gaza’s border crossings and end the blockade as part of the agreement. Turkey made an end to the siege on Gaza a prerequisite for the resumption of Israeli-Turkish relations following the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, when the Israeli navy intercepted the Turkish ship as it attempted to violate the blockade.

In order to ensure that material is not imported into Gaza, an intermediary port will be established in Cyprus and all cargo inspected by NATO personnel, according to a report by the London-based Al-Hayat. The Israeli Navy routinely intercepts shipments of rocket parts and other weapons headed towards terrorists in Gaza.

Hamas police

Hamas police patrol in Gaza. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Anonymous sources told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday that a Hamas delegation is preparing to head to Cairo to meet with the head of the Egyptian General Intelligence Service regarding the truce. The sources said the delegation will also visit Turkey and Qatar, where Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal has been living since 2012.

The ceasefire is already being slammed by Hamas’s opponents. Walid Awadh of the political office of the Palestinian People’s Party, part of the PLO, told Times of Israel that all the factions in the organization object to the agreement, despite supporting a ceasefire in general. “This agreement leads us from political divide to [Gaza’s] secession, making it impossible for Gaza to be part of the future Palestinian state,” Awadh said, adding that any long-term agreement must result from “unified Palestinian representation, tying the future of Gaza to that of the West Bank.”

By: Sara Abramowicz, United with Israel