Palestinians and Israelis agreed on Monday the Israeli army will gradually hand over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority one position at a time, Israeli sources reported.

 

The agreement has been reached in a meeting that joined Palestinian and Israeli security officials held on the Erez checkpoint on the northern entrance of the strip on Monday night.

The meeting joined the Palestinian National security commander and other senior PA security officials and the Israeli army Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi and Colonel Yoav Mordechai, head of coordination in the Gaza Strip.

The PA will receive security control in every sector in which the Israeli army units cease operations and will be responsible for preventing attacks and mass marches on the evacuated Israeli settlements.

On the other hand, the Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei said on Monday that all the resistance factions are committed to the declared calm.

Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, made the commitment during meetings with visiting Omar Suleiman head of the Egyptian intelligence on Monday afternoon.

‘The calm still exists. We are committed to this … all the factions are committed,’ Qurei said.

The Palestinian factions agreed on the unilateral calm in March and said it will only be till the end of the year.  There will be an assessment of the calm by the end of the year to check Israeli responses.  If Israel reciprocates the calm, the factions agreed, calm will become a truce.

‘Hamas will not make this truce eternal,’ said Ismail Haniyah, a senior leader of the group.

‘When Hamas and resistance factions see [the cease-fire] is no longer benefits the Palestinian, [Israel is not easing the situation and pulling out from more areas] we will announce its end and continue the path of resistance,’ Haniyah said at a weekly rally in Gaza held by families of Palestinians in Israeli jails.

Hamas also said that the Gaza withdrawal will not be complete if the jailed Gazans remained in prison.

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