Hamas denies Egyptian report of long-term agreement with Israel

Hamas denies report outlining details of an agreement between the terror group and Israel. 

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In a Monday interview with an Arab news site, an Egyptian parliamentarian outlined the understanding for an extended calm he says is in the works between Israel and the terror groups in the Gaza Strip, Israel Hayom reported on Tuesday.

Samir Ghattas told the Al-Watan Voice that Egyptian mediation efforts are going to bear fruit in the form of an agreement whereby Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will stop their rocket attacks and border riots for the “long term.”

In exchange, Israel will give in on a string of demands.

First, he said, Israel will refrain from destroying the terrorists’ arsenals and will stop their targeted assassinations of the groups’ senior commanders. Then, gradually, Israel will allow improvements to the lives of Gaza residents. This includes widening the fishing zone, increasing the number of trucks that can enter the enclave with goods and produce, and building infrastructure such as a floating port, an airport and factories.

According to Ghattas, these promises are also connected to a prisoner swap deal.

A senior Hamas official reacted Tuesday by denying in the Arab media that such a deal was in the offing.

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Yahya Mussa told the site that Ghattas’ remarks were “empty words and yellow journalism and baseless.” The Israeli security apparatus was behind the report, he claimed, because it wants “to deepen the dispute between the Palestinian factions, affect the spirit of the security prisoners’ families, and hurt the Palestinian nation.”

The al-Watan site also quoted an official Hamas statement that said, “What is published in the media is an extension of the incitement and distortion campaigns against Hamas.”

Palestinian Islamic Jihad has also rejected any agreement with Israel, said the Israeli daily, quoting an article in the Jerusalem-based Al-Quds newspaper.

Israel Hayom reports that Ghattas is a fierce enemy of Israel who decades ago managed arch-terrorist Abu Jihad’s office in Beirut before Israel assassinated him. He supports Fatah, the main Palestinian group that runs the Palestinian Authority.

According to the article, he is considered a confidant of Mohammed Dahlan, who was the head of the Preventive Security Force in Gaza before Hamas violently overthrew the PA in the Gaza Strip in 2007.