The Palestinian movement Hamas has sent messages to Israel indicating its willingness to negotiate over the truce in the Gaza Strip and easing the Israeli blockade, Israeli newpaper Haaretz said on May 7, citing Israeli intelligence.
According to Haaretz, the Hamas movement is currently in an “unprecedented crisis”:
“There has been a deep split in the Hamas movement as it was looking for a way out of the desperate situation in the Gaza Strip, which suffers from an economic crisis, sanctions from the Palestinian National Authority, pressure over the Israeli-Egyptian blockade as well as growing internal unrest.”
Earlier, the newspaper Israel Hayoom reported that there had been disputes within the Hamas leadership whether to continue “March of Return” protests in Gaza on the border with Israel.
Demonstrations on the border between Palestine and Israel have been continuing since late March. According to representatives of the Gaza Health Ministry, more than 430 Palestinians have been injured and 48 protesters have been killed.
Israel and Egypt established a blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2007, when the Hamas movement took control of the region to prevent smuggling of arms. Hamas launched a campaign, saying that Israel’s and Egypt’s actions cause a shortage of medical equipment as well as a sewage crisis. In 2017, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas suspended payments to Israel for electricity and cut salaries for civil servants. Abbas pledged not to lift the sanctions until Hamas cedes control over the Gaza Strip, including also over the movement’s weapons.