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John Kerry and Benjamin Netanyahu.
Photo: Motti Milrod
Israel coordinated with US on gradual end of Gaza blockade
Sources in Jerusalem claim Israel, America secretly agreed on steps to ease humanitarian hardship in Gaza by opening crossings.
Sources in Jerusalem said late Monday night that Israel had coordinated with the US to define the details of a future permanent accord with Hamas.

 

 

The sources claimed that US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to arrive in Israel next week in a show of support for Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and in order to demonstrate that the two allies' relationship is not in crisis.

 

The same sources added that Israel and the US secretly decided that Israel will agree to a gradual lifting of the blockade on Gaza Strip, starting with the land crossings and eventually opening up sea traffic.

 

Govt. sources claim that John Kerry helped reach a series of agreements with Benjamin Netanyahu to slowly lift the Gaza blockade. (Photo: Motti Milrod) (Photo: Motti Milrod)
Govt. sources claim that John Kerry helped reach a series of agreements with Benjamin Netanyahu to slowly lift the Gaza blockade. (Photo: Motti Milrod)

 

Under the agreement, Israeli will not oppose the transfer of salaries to Hamas civil workers in Gaza and will allow for the rehabilitation of the Strip with the use of international assistance.

 

The issue of the Strip's demilitarization, which Israel demanded during Operation Protective Edge, will most likely not be included in the accord developing in Cairo, though the US will support the Israeli demand for the prevention of Hamas and other terror organization's efforts to rearm. Israel said it would actively work to promote the issue on the international arena.

 

Though there has been no official American confirmation of the agreement, according to Israeli officials Kerry and Netanyahu will announce in a joint statement that the ties between the two countries are strong, and that the disagreements between them are only on certain points.

 

The statement would reiterate America's commitment to Israel's right to defend itself and to prevent rocket fire from Gaza towards Israel.

 

Meanwhile, a senior political source told Ynet on Monday night that the US has agreed to take part in an international donor conference on the rehabilitation of Gaza.

 

Senior Israeli sources have already been working with the Americans on the issue; in the coming days intensive diplomatic efforts are expected to occur in Israel and in Europe to assure the conference takes place.

 

Meanwhile, Israel announced late Monday night that it had agreed to extend a temporary truce in Gaza for 24 hours while – at Egypt's request – it continued to negotiate a permanent agreement with the Palestinian delegation in Cairo.

 

In a statement, Egypt confirmed a deal had not been reached but that talks on a long-term arrangement in Gaza Strip would continue.

 

"Palestinians and Israelis agreed on extending ceasefire to 24 hours to continue current negotiations," Egypt's official news agency said, quoting an official statement.

 

"The delegation in Cairo represents all of us. We will not renew fire given the announcement of a 24-hour ceasefire extension," said a spokesman for the military wing of the Popular Resistance Committees – which had earlier declared it would resume rocket fire if an official agreement was not announced. 

 

Elior Levy and Roi Kais contributed to this report.

 

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