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Egyptian delegation returns to Israel as Hamas sets ceasefire terms

March 28, 2019 3:23 P.M. (Updated: March 29, 2019 4:48 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- An Egyptian delegation, made up of intelligence officials, returned to Israel from Gaza through the Erez (Beit Hanoun) border crossing after presenting Hamas movement officials with Israel's terms to restore calm along the Israel-Gaza border, on Thursday.

The meeting took place at Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar's office and included representatives from the Islamic Jihad movement, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

During the meeting, Egypt presented Hamas with the Israeli proposal which included, among other things, an increase in the number of trucks entering the Gaza Strip through the Kerem Shalom border crossing, expansion of the fishing zone to 12 nautical miles, and improvement in the electricity supply across Gaza.

In exchange, Hamas will be forced to end the night protests, also known as “Night Confusion,” along Gaza borders and guarantee that the mass demonstrations, planned for the one year anniversary of “The Great March of Return” on Saturday, are nonviolent. In addition, to halting the launch of incendiary balloons towards southern Israel.

However, Hamas allegedly demanded the expansion of the fishing zone to 15 nautical miles, regular entry of gas, fuel, construction materials, and medical supplies, as well as the permitted entry of Palestinian workers from Gaza to Israel and the immediate transfer of Qatari financial funds.

Earlier this week, the Israeli army carried out a series of airstrikes across Gaza, destroying 30 buildings and leaving 13 Palestinian families, including 44 children and 14 women, homeless.

The majority of the nearly two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are sealed inside the coastal enclave due to the continuation of the military blockade imposed by Israel and upheld by Egypt on the southern border.

Gaza's residents endure distressing living conditions, including a shortage of safe drinking water and regular power cuts, partly due to a lack of fuel for Gaza's power plant, as well as receiving an average of just four hours of electricity per day.

The destruction from three Israeli offensives over the past six years, including damage to the enclave's water, sanitation, energy, and medical facilities, coupled with slow reconstruction due to the blockade led the UN to warn that Gaza could be "uninhabitable" by 2020.
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