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Hamas, Israel take baby steps toward truce

The conduct of talks between Hamas and Israel about a truce has raised suspicions among Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials that Hamas hopes one day to establish a "State of Gaza," independent of the West Bank.
Germany's Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier (C) shakes hands with a Palestinian man during his visit to the Seaport of Gaza City June 1, 2015.  REUTERS/Mohammed Salem

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A notable string of Western diplomatic delegations paid visits to the Gaza Strip this past spring. Most recently, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited June 1 to discuss a truce between Hamas and Israel, the reconstruction effort following the 2014 war on Gaza and alleviation of the blockade imposed since 2006.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a Western diplomat who frequently visits Gaza told Al-Monitor, “The primary purpose of the foreign visits to Gaza is to test the waters between Israel and Hamas, to prevent a new military confrontation between both parties by reaching a long-term truce of five years. There have been many security reports presented to the European foreign ministries by their consuls residing in the Palestinian territories noting that the situation in Gaza might explode soon due to the increasing suffering of the Palestinians.”

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