Israel reopened the Gaza border crossings early Sunday March 31, although five Palestinian rockets were aimed at the Eshkol district. IDF tanks hit back at Hamas positions in northern and central Gaza. There were no casualties but damage on the Israeli side.
Although the usual terrorist and IDF tit-for-tat show goes on – and Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar pledged more of the same, only worse – Israel appears to be going forward nevertheless with lavish concessions for Gaza – rewards for what Israel officials are commending as Hamas’ “self-restraint” in keeping the March of the Million on Saturday within bounds.
DEBKAfile reports exclusively that the Netanyahu government has consented to the UN beginning to draw on the $300m fund for Gaza Strip’s economic development accumulated from donations by different countries. Expenditure on projects will be overseen by Nickolay Mladenov, UN Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process.
Generous Israeli benefits and Hamas promises make up a new understanding for which the Egyptian mediators are now working on a timetable. They are listed here by DEBKAfile:
- Expansion of the flow of food supplies crossing into the Gaza Strip as well as building materials, which Israel restricted in the past as they were used for terror tunnels.
- Discussions on a maritime line linking Gaza to a port in Cyprus or Egypt.
- Hamas will halt its attacks on IDF forces defending the border fence.
- Palestinian rocket fire against Israel will cease.
- No more explosive balloon assaults.
- The IDF will exercise restraint against Palestinian “demonstrators” pushing against the border fence. This is taken to mean and end to live fire.
- Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia will twist the arm of Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas to release the funds he has been holding back from the Hamas regime for covering its payroll and Gaza’s electricity bills.
- A permanent Egyptian mission will be established in Gaza City to monitor the new accord’s implementation. Its members, high-ranking Egyptian intelligence officers, were present on the ground during the Saturday demonstration.
- No truce will be announced between Israel and Hamas. At a later date, they will announce that they are reverting to the understandings reached after Defensive Shield, Israel’s last major counter-terror operation in Gaza in 2006.