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Hamas 'on the brink' of truce with Israel Open in fullscreen

Imogen Lambert

Hamas 'on the brink' of truce with Israel

Khaled Meshaal has reportedly been meeting with Tony Blair [AFP]

Date of publication: 14 August, 2015

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Analysis: A prominent Hamas leader has said that there will soon be an announcement regarding a truce with Israel, as Hamas reassures Palestinian factions they will be consulted first.
Ahmed Youssef, a former political adviser to Ismail Haniyah, prime minister of the Gaza Strip, has given an interview on al-Ghad TV saying that truce negotiations between Hamas and Israel have come a long way and that there would soon be an announcement.

Youssef said that discussions and "exchanges of ideas" took place in Doha last week.

He did not specify any possible truce conditions, but said that the priority was the lifting of Israel's siege on the Gaza Strip, opening the crossings to facilitate the movement of travellers, and the establishment of a sea port.

"Israel wants security in the Gaza strip," Youssef said.

The Hamas leader had said he had briefed all concerned parties at home and abroad regarding the negotiations.

Hamas is cautious about issuing statements regarding such talks, as they do not want to "anticipate events", before the conclusion of negotiations.

"Everything can fall apart in a moment so you must wait," he said.

Youssef said that this agreement was humanitarian, rather than political, and "completes what happened in Cairo after the recent Israeli war on the Gaza Strip".

The Palestinian Authority has expressed concerns around the talks. They have previously claimed that Hamas was trying to build an Islamic caliphate in Gaza - in collaboration with Israel.

"Hamas aims, through these talks, to dedicate its rule to the Gaza Strip, protect its leaders and stick to the instructions of its regional donors - even if that is at the expense of the Palestinian cause, national unity and suffering of Gazans," Fatah spokesperson Ahmad Assaf said.

Ahmed Youssef previously denied such allegations to al-Araby, saying that Hamas was "trying to rebuild Gaza". 

Tony Blair, the former British prime minister and recently retired Quartet envoy, is understood to have met Khaled Meshaal, Hamas' political chief, in Doha on Tuesday - the second meeting between them in six weeks.

On Thursday, Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman, sought to "reassure" Palestinian factions that they would be presented with any proposals before any agreement is reached - and that Hamas had been meeting with Palestinian parties to discuss any potential long-term truce.

Sources within Hamas told al-Araby al-Jadeed's Arabic service that there remain several sticking points to the talks, including Hamas' refusal to link the truce talks to negotiations over Israelis in their custody, and an Israeli requirement for the group to keep their affiliates quiet in the West Bank and Jerusalem.   

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