Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi has persuaded Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to accept a truce agreement between Israel and the Hamas movement that controls the Gaza Strip, Ynet and Haaretz reported Thursday.
However, later that day, a senior Palestinian Authority official told the Jerusalem Post that he was unaware of Abbas accepting any such agreement.
For months, Abbas opposed the negotiation of a ceasefire agreement because he was left out of the talks, Ynet reports. His concern was that if such an agreement was reached directly with Hamas, it would effectively cement Hamas's rule over the Strip for good, kicking the PA from the region. This would mean that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which are now considered two parts of Palestine, would become de-facto two different states.
According to the paper, Sisi briefed Abbas on Egypt's efforts to achieve "calm" in the Gaza Strip and end the ongoing dispute between Hamas and the PA president's ruling Fatah faction that controls the West Bank.
The sources close to the talks cited by Ynet and the Jerusalem Post said the peace discussions will consist of two phases: the first will take two to three weeks, and the second will take six months.
The sources also said Israel has agreed to transfer a $90 million Qatari grant into Gaza to pay salaries to Hamas employees for six months, under the condition that the US will be responsible for the money transfer. In addition, Israel reportedly agreed to allow an increase of exports from Gaza — including fruits, vegetables, furniture and clothes — during the first stage of the peace period. This would be the first export increase from Gaza in many years, Ynet notes.