It is the first time ever that a senior diplomat involved in Gaza has admitted that such talks are taking place.
In an interview with a Chinese news agency, Al-Emadi said that the United States is aware of, and involved in, the talks, but he noted that “there still is no agreement between the two sides, only contacts ahead of an agreement.”
Al-Emadi is considered to be a respected diplomat by Israel, the US and by Hamas. He is given consistent access to the Gaza Strip from Israel via the Erez Crossing and is in contact with Israel's security establishment.
Al-Emadi noted a number of recommendations made by the White House for rehabilitating Gaza through infrastructural projects that would help its water supply, alleviate its paucity of electricity and create work for the residents.
“We demanded from the Israelis and the Americans the removal of the blockade on the Gaza Strip and we emphasized that. We are working on this but have not yet reached a result,” the Qatari diplomat stated without elaborating on what Hamas had offered in return.
Last week, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman struck an agreement with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades to begin plans to build a seaport for Gaza that will operate in Cyprus and will be supervised by Israel, according to a report on Channel 2 News.
The handing of a benefits package to Gaza, however, was said to have been made contingent upon Hamas returning slain soldiers held in Hamas captivity and the release of Israeli citizens who are still alive and who are being held by the terror group.
In addition, it was reported that Israel would assist the Americans in leading the humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza who intend to pump huge sums of money into the economically crippled enclave as part of an effort to dramatically improve the quality of life for its residents.