Qatari Money, Eased Blockade: Hamas Chief Reveals Egypt-brokered Accord With Israel

The understanding reached also include easing restrictions on import and export and cutting down the list of items prohibited from entering Gaza

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, center, during his visit to the border with Israel, April 20, 2018.
Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, Yahya Sinwar, center, during his visit to the border with Israel, April 20, 2018.Credit: Khalil Hamra / AP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Hamas' political leader, Yahya Sinwar, said Saturday the understandings reached with Israel through Egyptian mediation include expanding the list of items allowed into the Strip and easing restrictions on import and export and passage of traders.

Sinwar also issued a threat toward Israel, saying that it will have to evacuate Tel Aviv and other parts of the country if it forces Hamas into a war. Sinwar made the remarks after meeting with Palestinian factions and civil society activists.

Haaretz Weekly Episode 20Credit: Haaretz

>> Read more: Israel will reward Hamas for its restraint, but any incident could reignite the flamesIsrael goes easy on Hamas, harder on Abbas

Sinwar added that as part of the agreement, Qatar will transfer $30 million each month until the end of 2019 to assist families in poverty and to fund programs meant to create work places in the Strip.

A desalination plan will also be erected as part of the plan, funded by several countries, including Saudi Arabia, Sinwar said, and Kuwait will assist in repairing Gaza City's Shifa Hospital and in bringing in diesel fuel to operate the power plant.

Israel controls the border crossings into Gaza and prohibits "dual use items" – items that can help make weapons like toilet air-freshener balls – from entering the Strip.

While the details mentioned by Sinwar remain unconfirmed, they echo previous estimates.

Following the relatively restrained anniversary of the March of Return, the weekly mass protests along Gaza's border, Israel expanded the approved fishing zone for Gazans to 15 nautical miles. This is the maximal fishing range allowed in the Gaza Strip since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. Fishermen in Gaza say the 15-mile range is partial, only applying to waters off the southern part of the Strip.

The expansion is pursuant to “civilian policy to prevent humanitarian deterioration in the Gaza Strip, and policy that distinguishes between terrorism and the uninvolved population,” according to the coordinator of government activities in the territories.

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