Cairo draft accord may embody Israeli concessions on security in return for Hamas truce
debkafile’s intelligence sources disclose that the Egyptian-brokered draft deal Israeli and Hamas delegates inked in Cairo Monday night, Aug. 18, contained, in return for a Hamas commitment to withhold rocket fire on the Israeli population for an extended, though unspecified, period, a number of Israeli concessions and waivers. They are subject to endorsement by the Israeli security cabinet, which does not convene until Tuesday. The Egyptian foreign ministry later Monday announced that the two parties had agreed to extend the Gaza truce for 24 hours “to complete negotiations.”
These provisions of this draft, according to Egyptian sources – though not confirmed by Israeli officials – are disclosed here for the first time:
1. Palestinian fishing rights are extended from 3 to 12 miles.
2. Israel will restore the Gaza Strip’s electrical power capacity within a year.
3. The Palestinian Authority based in Ramallah will oversee and administer all the rehabilitation operations to be performed in the Gaza Strip.
4. An international mechanism will be formed to monitor the building materials delivered to Gaza.
5. Israel will lift its financial restrictions on Gaza’s banks.
6. Israel and Hamas will begin discussing the building of a deep sea port and international airport for the Gaza Strip in a month’s time.
7. They will also embark on parallel negotiations for the release of Palestinians in Israeli security prisons.
8. An extension of the truce and cessation of hostilities between the two parties will take place.
debkafile’s sources report an attempt by some Israeli officials to present the draft as incorporating a process which separates the humanitarian and security issues.
However, it may be that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ya’alon are looking for a pretext to explain the concessions that were made for the sake of a ceasefire for an indefinite period – or else they are trying to ward off Egyptian-Palestinian browbeating for a deal.
According to the disclosures so far, the draft agreement – if it is approved by the cabinet – will embody four major Israeli concessions:
— Waiving demilitarization of the Gaza Strip and disarmament of Hamas’s rockets and terror tunnels at this point.
— Lifting the blockade of the Gaza Strip – economically and by the establishment of ports.
— Reversal of a government decision to abstain from negotiating the release of convicted Palestinian terrorists from jail, which the Israeli public will never accept.
— Rehabilitation of the Gaza Strip before any steps are taken towards disarming Hamas.
The danger of this waiver is already apparent in the announcement by the radical Popular Committees faction that it is not bound by any Hamas commitment to suspend rocket attacks. In any case, according to a Egyptian foreign ministry statement late Monday: Israel and the Palestinians have only agreed to a 24-hour ceasefire extension – i.e., until Tuesday midnight, for further negotiations.