Israel and Hamas have again agreed to restore calm to the Gaza Strip with an agreement that provides incentives for the Palestinians and a lessening of tension for both sides. Although such agreements are problematic from the standpoint of the Fatah-Hamas rivalry because they allow the Iranian-backed Islamists to chide Fatah, arguing that the “armed resistance,” read Hamas, unlike their PLO-linked foes, have results to show for their efforts. Nevertheless, Israel boosted Hamas’s bragging rights with an enlarging of the fishing zone for Gaza’s fishermen, the return of confiscated fishing boats, and fuel for the Gaza power station. In return, Hamas is to prevent the launching of incendiary balloons into Israeli territory and control the demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border. Exactly what “control demonstrations mean is not clear. On Thursday alone, some 25 fires were started by the devices launched from the Gaza Strip.
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