As the cessation of hostilities between Israel and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) terror group in Gaza seemingly holds, high-level trilateral talks in Jerusalem focused on coordinated efforts to restore calm to Israel’s southern front.
The meeting was organized by the Israeli military’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Maj.-Gen. Kamil Abu Rukun, with Qatari envoy Mohammed al-Emadi and the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Nickolay Mladenov.
Emadi and Mladenov, who are believed to have conveyed messages between Jerusalem and Gaza City in recent days, informed Abu Rukun that Hamas is demanding the immediate lifting of all Israeli restrictions on border crossings and restoration of the fishing zone off Gaza’s Mediterranean coast to 15 nautical miles. The Islamist group is also reportedly insisting that thousands of Palestinian merchants and laborers be permitted to enter Israel from Gaza, as part of a previous agreement that ended the ‘balloon-terrorism’ toward the Jewish State.
The limitations to which Hamas objects were imposed on the Palestinian enclave at the start of the week, in response to the indiscriminate firing of at least 100 rockets and mortar-shells from Gaza at Israel’s southern civilian communities.