Ismail Haniyeh speaking after Eid al-Adha prayers in Gaza City, today. IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS

Hamas Chief: Gaza Close to Ending Blockade, Trump's Peace Plan 'Clinically Dead'

'Any humanitarian aid to Gaza will not be made at a diplomatic price,' Ismail Haniyeh says

Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh said Tuesday that "we are on the way to ending the blockade on Gaza," adding "this is the result of your steadfastness and your struggle, and any humanitarian aid to Gaza will not be made at a diplomatic price."

According to Haniyeh, the proposed aid will be given under a national Palestinian agreement and under the supervision of an Arab security apparatus, "so that there would be appropriate guarantees, with an emphasis on the Palestinian resistance forces maintaining their status as providers of protection and security for the Palestinian people."

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Haniyeh further said that U.S. President Donald Trump's "deal of the century," was "clinically dead." He added that any talks of internal Palestinian reconciliation requires the lifting of sanctions imposed by the Palestinian Authority, and called on the PA to cease security coordination with Israel and end what he termed persecution of Hamas and other resistance groups in the West Bank.

Haniyeh's remarks join those of Islamic Jihad's deputy chief Ziyad al-Nakhalah, who on Monday disclosed part of the understandings that were reached between Israel and Palestinian factions, including Hamas, regarding an emerging cease-fire.

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Al-Nakhalah, who attended talks by different Palestinian factions held in Cairo over the past several days, said Egypt told Palestinian representatives that funding for humanitarian projects in Gaza is available, especially for ones dealing with the shortage in water and electricity in the Strip.

A Fatah delegation will leave for Cairo next week to take part in talks with Gaza's factions, including Hamas.

Ismail Haniyeh after Eid al-Adha prayers in Gaza City, today. IBRAHEEM ABU MUSTAFA/REUTERS

Al-Nakhalah said that Israel has agreed to significantly ease restrictions in the different passages into the Strip and will agree to have further construction materials passed into Gaza as well as extend the area in which Gaza fishermen are allowed to work along the Strip's beaches.

Egypt has promised, according to al-Nakhalah, to considerably expand the use of the Rafah crossing in the beginning of September, including the tripling of the number of pedestrians allowed through the crossing, the extension of operating hours and an overall improvement in the services offered.

On Monday, a Fatah official told Haaretz that the Egyptians pressured Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas last week to send a delegation to Cairo, but the Palestinian leader objected on grounds that a separate agreement was being drawn up between Hamas and Israel that would only deepen the divisions and the separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. 

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman accused Abbas of working to push Israel and Hamas to a confrontation in the Gaza Strip because the two factions were unable to solve the crisis between them.

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