Reports: Egyptian Mediators Propose 5-year Israel-Hamas Cease-fire
Egyptian mediators are negotiating with high-ranking Gaza-based Hamas and Islamic Jihad officials the terms of a potential five-year cease-fire deal with Israel. According to Arab media, the truce would include, among other stipulations, a relaxation of the joint Israel-Egypt blockade on the Palestinian enclave, the implementation of infrastructure projects to alleviate persistent water and electricity shortfalls, and the possible construction of an artificial island under Israeli control to be used as a hub to transfer goods into the coastal territory. Despite intense efforts, international mediators have for years failed to prevent recurring outbreaks of violence between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza, manifest in a major conflagration last month in which Islamic Jihad in 48 hours fired some 450 rockets following the targeted assassination of one of its leading military commanders. However, there are signs that a breakthrough may be on the horizon, given that Hamas, the de facto ruler of Gaza, did not participate in November’s military exchange. Moreover, the Islamist group has for the past three weeks canceled the “March of Return” protests along the border, which have invariably descended into clashes between Gazans and Israeli troops. The news comes days after a survey found that 40 percent of Israelis living in the country’s North – the target of intermittent, Iranian-attributed attacks from Syria – and South do not feel secure, and that half of them are considering relocating.