Head of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s political-security bureau, Amos Gilad, stated on Wednesday that Israel and Egypt are conducting intensive negotiations in an attempt to achieve a long-term truce deal with Hamas in the Gaza Strip.Israeli online daily Haaretz reported that the truce would include reopening the Rafah terminal between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
Haaretz added that Gilad visited Cairo on Tuesday for the second time in one week and met with senior Egyptian officials who are currently mediating between Hamas movement and Israel.
The Islamic movement, Hamas, which dominates the Gaza Strip, demands that Israel should lift its siege over the Gaza Strip and open the borders crossing. Yet, Haaretz said that Hamas might accept to a partial reopening of the Rafah Crossing, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
If the Rafah crossing is reopened, the European observers, who left the crossing last year after Hamas seized control over the coastal region, would have to return to monitor it.
Haaretz also stated that among the issues discussed is whether there would be rules regarding who will be allowed to cross and whether the observers would have the right to search the residents and confiscate large amount of cash in an attempt to bar Hamas officials from brining large sums of money.
Senior sources at the Israeli Defense Ministry stated that Israel’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, gave Gilad a limited scope of negotiations.
But, several Israeli security officials believe that Hamas movement is apparently interested in an extended ceasefire deal “as its fighters are still recovering from the extended and heavy fighting they went through as the army operated in Gaza this month”.
Recently and during a visit to Jerusalem, U.S assistant secretary of state, David Welch, held talks with Gilad and informed him that Egypt is more willing to find a solution to the conflict and urged Israel to accelerate talks with the country.
Also, the US is urging Israel to agree to an Egyptian demand of deploy a number of Egyptian troops on the border instead of only deploying the ordinary border police. This demand was rejected by Israel since it violates the Israel-Egypt peace deal.