Reports are emerging today citing a top Hamas figure, who says that they have summoned officials from several other Palestinian factions to meet in Beirut about their ongoing backchannel negotiations with Israel, and the possibility of a long-term truce being established.
Hamas has been reported to be in quiet talks with Israel for months about this truce, and the Hamas leadership has confirmed progress in the talks. The latest on the truce is that it will be a 10 year deal would include the release of Palestinian prisoners, the construction of a floating port off the coast of Gaza, and an easing of the Israeli blockade.
Israel has denied that any talks are ongoing, and Hamas’ primary Palestinian rival, Fatah, has angrily condemned the talks, believing they are an Israeli plot to divide the Palestinians and a Hamas plot to undercut their own leadership, at a time when Fatah leadership is definitely up in the air.
It was the early reports of an Israel-Hamas negotiation process that put the kibosh on the Fatah-Hamas unity deal, and Fatah’s leadership likely fears that if Hamas can pull off a meaningful deal it will enhance their credibility greatly. Getting the other factions on board is likely to be essential, but also extremely difficult for Hamas, but if they can put forward a deal in principle it may be difficult for the other factions to say “no” under any circumstances to easing the Gaza blockade.