Egypt cracks the whip for Hamas in long-term truce talks

The Hamas delegation to the long-term truce talks for Gaza in Cairo Sunday, Jan. 25, was given no leeway by Egyptian intelligence minster Gen. Omar Suleiman, Cairo’s senior negotiator, debkafile‘s military sources disclose. This contradicts the impression given by Hamas.
Either accept our terms, he told them with exceptional brusqueness, or wait two-three months and take your chances on a new Israel government to rise after its Feb. 10 general election.
Their only other option now, said Suleiman, was to return to Damascus, implying that he was throwing Hamas on the mercies of Syrian president Bashar Assad.
When Hamas asked for Turkish monitors to be posted at the Rafah crossing, Suleiman said: Here’s the Turkish prime minister’s phone number. Call him yourselves.
So saying, the Egyptian minister left the conference room, leaving junior officials behind to hear Hamas’ responses, which were uniformly negative.
These are the conditions Cairo put before the Palestinian Islamist organization:
1. Hamas must pledge to halt all smuggling into the Gaza Strip, including arms.
2. It must accept a long-term truce for Gaza. debkafile reports Israel is demanding 10-15 years, to be renewed every three or four, while Suleiman proposed a 10-year period.
3. Hamas armed men will respect a 1 km-off limits belt inside the Gazan-Israeli Israeli border fence, refrain from sniper fire and planting explosives.
4. Hamas must keep its distance from all Gaza’s crossings – 6 on the border with Israel, and one, the Rafah gateway to Egyptian Sinai.
5. The verbal abuse of Egypt must stop forthwith.
The Hamas delegates were summarily brushed aside when they asked for Egyptian help to reconstruct the Gaza Strip. Suleiman said assistance would be forthcoming when the Palestinian factions healed their feud and formed a national unity government – meaning when Hamas accepted the Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority rule in the Gaza Strip.
debkafile adds: Hamas came to the Cairo negotiating table in an inferior position. Most its top leaders in Gaza have not ventured to come out of hiding since before Israel’s Gaza operation began on Dec. 27, for fear that the people will vent their fury over the calamity the Hamas-government brought down on the enclave.

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