Israel Allows Fuel to Enter Gaza, but Both Sides Deny Broader Agreement

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משאית עם פירות וירקות נכנסת לעזה דרך מעבר כרם שלום, בשבוע שעבר
A truck carrying fruit and vegetables to Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing, last weekCredit: Adel Hana/AP

Israel is permitting the entrance of fuel from Qatar to the Gaza Strip beginning Monday, but both sides denied that they had reached any broader understanding.

The decision was made "after assessing the security situation" and with the "approval of political leadership," according to the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories on Sunday.

The fuel, which will pass through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, is intended for a power station in the enclave. 

Pan-Arab satellite channel Al Mayadeen reported on Sunday night that Israel and Hamas had agreed to return to the mutual understandings prior to Operation Guardians of the Wall.

According to the Beirut-based station, the return to the status quo will be gradual, and will begin with the entry of Qatari fuel into the enclave.

Hamas sources, however, claimed that the only deal it had reached with Israel related to the arrival of Qatari diesel, under the auspices of the UN, in exchange for continued quiet. The militant group added that further provocation from Israel would lead to a renewed escalation.

The sources also stated that Israel is conditioning further aid to the Strip on the return of Israeli prisoners from Gaza.

Following the announcement, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, stated that he "welcomes all steps taken to de-escalate the situation." He added that the UN "will continue to work with all concerned parties and partners to solidify a ceasefire and help the people of Gaza."

Hamas' leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, said last week that his meeting with the UN envoy to the region ended in failure. According to Sinwar, top Hamas officials will meet to strategize on how to best respond to Israel's restrictions on imports into the Strip. 

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