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November 11, 2018 12:06 pm

Report: Israel, Qatar Planning Maritime Trade Route for Gaza

avatar by Israel Hayom /

Palestinians hold flags as they ride a boat during a rally marking the fifth anniversary of the “Mavi Marmara” Gaza flotilla, at the seaport of Gaza City on May 31, 2015. Photo: Aaed Tayeh/Flash90. – Israel and Qatar have begun planning a maritime trade route between the ‎Gaza Strip and Cyprus, Lebanese media reported Saturday.‎

According to the reports, the shipping route will be closely monitored by ‎Israel and will include sophisticated security measures, including cameras ‎and electronic sensors. ‎

Israeli media reported in June that Israel and Cyprus were looking into developing a ‎similar plan in hopes of alleviating the dire economic crisis in ‎Gaza.‎

Gaza has been under an Israeli maritime blockade since ‎‎2007, when the Hamas terrorist group seized control of the Strip in a ‎military coup. Israel maintains the blockade ‎is necessary to prevent Hamas ‎from ‎smuggling weapons and terrorists in and out of Gaza.‎

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On Thursday, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper Al-‎Hayat ‎reported that Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi convinced Palestinian Authority President ‎Mahmoud Abbas to sign off on a ‎cease-fire agreement between ‎Israel and Hamas, after months in which the ‎Palestinian leader had been actively trying to torpedo such a deal.‎

Cairo has been trying to mediate a truce between ‎‎Israel and Hamas for the past several months, in ‎an ‎effort to ‎prevent a series of escalating border ‎flare-ups from devolving ‎into a full-fledged war. ‎

According to reports in Lebanon over the weekend, the shipping route plan would be part of the economic relief measures offered to Hamas as part of the Egyptian-brokered deal.

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