Tuesday, June 16, 2015

  • Tuesday, June 16, 2015
  • Elder of Ziyon
Times of Israel reports:
Leading members of Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas convened in Qatar over the past several days to discuss a proposal for a long-term ceasefire with Israel, the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper reported Monday.

According to Palestinian officials quoted by the paper, Hamas representative Moussa Abu Marzouk went to the Qatari capital of Doha on Saturday in the hopes of finalizing a three-to-five year truce with the Jewish state.

The truce proposal, which is backed by both Qatar and Turkey, is based on an outline formulated by UN special envoy to the Middle East Nikolay Mladenov, according to the Israeli NRG news site.

The report added that Abu Marzouk held a series of meetings in Qatar with Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal as well as other senior officials in the organization.

The truce proposal reportedly includes a clause regarding the establishment of a seaport in Gaza, NRG reported. The port, according to the proposal, will be subject to Israeli or international supervision.
A Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan confirmed that Hamas will respond to some unspecified truce proposal today.

Fatah is not thrilled. Fatah-leaning Palestine Press Agency characterizes the story as "Informed sources in the Hamas movement inside and outside Palestine say there is a consensus within the movement for an agreement with Israel instead of an agreement with the Palestinian Authority."

The official Wafa news agency of the PA gives a lukewarm reaction to the news - and revealed the PA's long-standing fears of a separate Hamastan in Gaza:
Official spokesman for the Presidency, Nabil Abu Rdainah, commenting on what is being talked about to reach a truce in the Gaza Strip, said that it would be important, if it is not at the expense of the unity of the land and the state and the people, and not a precursor for the acceptance of a state with provisional borders, which would leave a devastating impact on the Palestinian people and their cause and independence.

He added in a statement to 'Wafa', on Tuesday, that any truce should aim to alleviate the suffering of our people, and not to be at the expense of the Palestinian national consensus.
The idea of a seaport under international supervision is interesting. It effectively would make a seaport a replacement for the Rafah crossing, which used to be manned by a European contingent EUBAM-Rafah (with cameras to Israel) to monitor that no weapons or terrorists crossed the border. That agreement was with the PA.

It is an indication of Hamas' weakness that they would even consider such a plan, when they have been dead-set against any Israeli involvement in the Rafah crossing.

From a legal perspective I don't know if this plan would affect the legal position of Israel's' sea blockade of Gaza. I believe it wouldn't, because legal sea blockades can include inspections of ships and allow ships with aid to pass through to the blockaded ports.

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