Monday, October 21, 2019

Gaza sea crossing to reopen


By Marc Henry - November 11, 2018
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Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Gaza] [Gaza Blockade]

Israel could soon allow Hamas to operate a sea crossing between Gaza and Cyprus.

 
According to the Lebanese Al Akhbar, the sea crossing is on the table as a part of a wider Egyptian-brokered ceasefire between Hamas and Israel.
 
The Arab newspaper reported on Saturday that Israel and Qatar had agreed to set up the sea passage between Gaza and Cyprus. However, the deal comes with a number of demands from both Israel and Hamas.  
 
As so, Hamas demands that the crossing be monitored through video cameras, while Israel wants both Israeli forces and international elements to monitor the seaport to prevent weapons smuggling.
 
According to the report Hamas has agreed to measures used at the Rafah crossing in the Gaza Strip since 2005, including cameras, computer networks and the presence of international inspectors. Further negotiations are ongoing.
 
Israel has imposed movement restrictions on the Gaza Strip since the early 1990s, but the restrictions intensified in 2007 when Israel imposed a land, sea and air blockade on Gaza following Hamas’ takeover of the Strip.
 
Lately, it has been reported that Israel had agreed to allow Qatar to transfer funds to the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.
 
The money, which was spent on Gaza’s civil servant's first paycheck in months, was delivered into Israeli territory from Jordan, through the Allenby Bridge, and then relayed into Gaza through the Erez Crossing.
 
According to Israeli media, the money transfer was agreed to after Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas refused to pay the salaries of PA employees in Gaza.
 
Carried out by the UN, Israel allowed the transfer from Qatar but is closely monitoring how the money is spent.
 
A total of $90 million is to be distributed in six monthly instalments of $15 million, primarily to cover salaries of officials working for Hamas.
 
In addition, Qatar has also said that it would hand out $100 to each of 50,000 poor families as well as larger sums to Palestinians wounded in clashes along Gaza’s border with Israel.
 
Israeli Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman has not welcomed the Qatari money transfer.
 
“This is a capitulation to terrorism, and in effect, Israel is buying short-term calm with money, while severely undermining long-term security,” he told Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
 
In another Israeli-approved deal, Qatar has started buying additional fuel for Gaza’s sole power station. This has allowed planned outages to be reduced to their lowest level in recent years.

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