Asharq Al-awsat English Middle-east and International News and Opinion from Asharq Al-awsat Newspaper

Hamas Caps Confrontations Level on Border

Hamas Caps Confrontations Level on Border

Saturday, 20 October, 2018 - 08:45
A Palestinian woman carries her national flag during a protest for lifting the Israeli blockade on Gaza on a beach in Beit Lahia near the maritime border with Israel, on September 17, 2018. (AFP/Said Khatib)
Ramallah - Kifah Zaboun
Hamas has limited confrontations' level on the border of Gaza Strip with Israel on the 30th Friday of “Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege”, in what seems to be a response to the UN and Egyptian efforts to settle the situation in the strip.

“The most important message tomorrow is the masses gathering in a peaceful manner,” Khaled al-Batsh, a senior leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad and an organizer of the march, wrote in a statement.

“The March of Return is continuing until its goals are attained,” he wrote, calling on participants not to give Israeli snipers a reason to open fire at them.

Daoud Shehab, another member of the organizing committee of the marches, said officials were encouraging protesters to stay away from the border fence. But he said he was not sure to what extent they would succeed in “restraining the public mood.”

“There will be attempts to prevent them from approaching the fence. There might be a reduction of incendiary balloons,” he said. “We hope there will be no human losses tomorrow. We are giving a chance to the Egyptian efforts.”

Egypt, in cooperation with UN's Middle East peace coordinator Nickolay Mladenov, sponsors discussions with Hamas and Israel for the sake of restoring calm and alleviating siege imposed by Israel on the sector for a decade.

Director general of the Egyptian General Intelligence Directorate Ayman Badie met Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh then traveled to Israel to meet National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and senior officials in Shin Bet within the ongoing communication procedure to reach calm in Gaza.

The Israeli military was on high alert Friday ahead of the clashes expected afternoon and evening, coming two days after a rocket with a 20-kilogram warhead exploded outside a house in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba early Wednesday morning.

As an indicator on the possibility of returning to a previous nonviolent phase, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman announced that he is willing to renew fuel supply on Sunday in case calmness prevailed in the region near the security fence.

Reliable sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that Israel insists on facilitation in the crossings’ operation in return for calm, but a long-term agreement entails first the return of detained Israeli soldiers and citizens.

“The Israeli enemy’s threats have effectively motivated the crowds to participate powerfully in the protest,” said Fawzi Barhoum, a spokesman for Hamas.

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